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A Brief History of Time

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  38 reviews
"A Brief History of Time," Beers' first collection of poetry, is at once an exploration of what it is to grow up in rural America and a treatise for social justice. These poems, many of them award-winning, span a wide range of styles-from plainsong free verse to sestinas to nearly epic works. The characters/speakers in Beers' poems range from the rural working class to ...more
Paperback, 76 pages
Published January 19th 2008 by Salt Publishing
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Jan 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
A Brief History of Time: Read in the parking lot of Safeway; late in the day. The car was warm, womby. At any rate, this first poem (the title poem) is a compact novella of ideas both romantic and cosmic. Somehow both autobiographical and universal; the shared memoir of multitudes.

Would you know me: Read after work; 1 a.m. on a Thursday. The dream of transformation; the farmgirl dreaming of being a citygirl dreaming of being a farmgirl. The sadness of a roadside produce stand. Some families get
Jan 24, 2009 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Ummm... I wrote it, so I'll let others review it :-)
Feb 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When I first read "Cicadas", a poem from Shaindel Beers that I encountered online, I was so blown away by the unique perspecive on time, that I decided this was a poet I had to read more of, and immediately got "A Brief History of Time", her first book, which promised more of the same.

It didn't disappoint. This book cemented Shaindel Beers in my mind as not just a writer with an impressive depth and facility of language, but - at least to my mind - one of the foremost poets of this generation.

Lisa Greer
Mar 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have seen Shaindel's work grow and evolve over the past thirteen years.

She has an unflinching, ironic, honest, and at times, deliciously dark, voice in her poetry. I especially like the way she uses her observant eye in the works "Sleeping Man and Woman...," "To CKC," "Rewind," "Body Shop," "In a Top Drawer," and "Because You Are In It." I like others in this collection, but these are nearly perfect to me, and I can read them again and again.

If you enjoy thought provoking poetry with sharp
Heather Fowler
Feb 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shaindel Beers has a beautiful poetic voice and vision. I loved her use of place and the vivid way her poems set off locations and longings. I read this book in one day, inhaled it really.
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Z: Before we begin our archaeological dig into the history of time, Shaindel, let me ask something else itching on my mind. Tell me about your name. You might guess that I love unusual names.

Shaindel: That’s funny because I’ve always been curious about your name, too. Shaindel is a Yiddish name that means “pretty.” It was my father’s mother’s name, and he promised his parents that he would name his first son and daughter after them. They both died when he was young, so this was really important
Mar 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I first read Shaindel Beers poem "HA!" online, it has been published in The Minnesota Review, so I may have been there, or possibly on one of the blog sites where she is doing her cyberspace book tour. (A good thing to check out, it's the wave of the future in book promotion!) "HA!" is a poem of the moment. It addresses, in vivid imagery, a woman with ovarian cancer who works in a dollar store with no health insurance. I would like President Obama and his team, and all the insurance companies, ...more
Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I have been fortunate enough to have read Shaindel's work before this book came out. Ms. Beers has an incredible love affair with words. I find her work to be a rare delight as she has the ability to put together words that not only are full of passion (even in the most subtle ways) but so real, you can see yourself there. First Love is one of my favorite poems. I was so glad to see it was in her book. That poem is so realistic, I was leaning against the wall watching as the girl took care of ...more
Matthew Hittinger
Aug 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I think I'm in love with "The Calypso Diaries" :

"Sometimes you let him go because it's more cruel
than keeping him.
Sometimes you let him go because freedom
is the opposite of love.
Sometimes you let him go because freedom
is the only love.
Sometimes you let him go because there is only
one Penelope.
Sometimes you let him go because there is only one Calypso
and you know that he will think of her more often
from across the sea."

Also, I admire the sestinas, especially "For Stephen Funk, in Prison for
Nov 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, signed
I haven't read poetry in years, but read this collection because I was already familiar with some of the poems. I love how, although they cover themes of love and loss, they aren't “typical” cheesy love poems or poems about nature that only the author can truly appreciate. It isn't experimental, which I also love, and basically tells tales about real people who live both rural and urban lifestyles, which reflects Beers’s background. She’s also a master of the sestina. Very accessible to new ...more
Nick Black
Jan 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Nick by: Shaindel Beers
Amazon 2009-01-25. Author Shaindel Beers is one of my GoodReads friends, and has written a book of American poetry with a title more famously used by British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking for his popularization of quantum cosmology. I figure this is a good sign, and thus picked it up in my desperate search for modern poetry of value.
Jul 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I have this habit when I read books of poetry, of folding down the corners of the poems I like - when I finished this book, I found I had folded almost as many pages as not. A wonderful collection of poems both beautiful and accessible. So glad the author convinced me to buy it.
Shans O'Rourke-Hudson
Aug 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually breeze through poetry, but I flew threw these poems and not because I wasn't really reading them. I really love the way Beers writes; probably because I know her!! :)
Aug 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
I don't often read poetry, but I met the author and was charmed!
Matthew Davidson
May 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Interesting life experiences through the eyes of a young woman.
Charity Norton
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love it! Very intriguing look into things that happen to someone growing up...definitely let's you peer into someone's background and life. Shaindel's use of words to describe a young woman's life for a brief time is superb! Best set of poetry I've read in awhile!
Sarah Sammis
Feb 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I am drawn to books for any number of reasons: familiarity with the author, familiarity with the location, a love of the title, a love of the cover art and so forth. For A Brief History of Time it was location, title and cover and having "met" the author via twitter. In fact, she's the first author I've asked up front for a chance to review.

The title, bringing to mind instantly the Stephen Hawking book, combined with a typically American windmill on against an expansive blue sky and rolling
May 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A few years ago, I took a workshop under poet Margaret Gibson who talked about the importance of poetry giving voice to those who cannot speak. The whole time I was reading Shaindel Beers' A Brief History of Time (Salt Publishing, 2009), I thought of Gibson's words. Beers' first collection of poetry is a work that explores the lives of those (usually women) who are usually not heard. In "HA!" we learn the story of a woman "dying of ovarian cancer" who has to work at the local Dollar General. In ...more
Anatoly Molotkov
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, brave, thoughtful, compassionate.
Jan 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shaindel Beer’s tells her story of a life lived in the country, love affairs, beauty and heart ache. Her poetry is compacted with the brutal honesty of a strong woman and the endearing golden heart of a child in its passion to dream and hope. With her vision, they are truly impactful in their haunting effects. At some points, her poetry is like a stream of consciousness, drifting into other tangents and musings that are insightful and lavished, like a scenic detour. I would recommend this book ...more
Michael Wayne Hampton
This wonderful collection of poems, both formal and free verse, represents the touching and compelling voice of Shaindel Beers. These are poems of care-giving, of openness and reflection, that resonate and bear witness to a speaker born wanting in the Midwest who wanders on through this imperfect life with an undying love for the next and the missing. It's a testament to what it means to be human, to fail and yet retain openness and belief in the possibility of what's to come. I highly recommend ...more
Feb 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I am always looking for poems that continue what Walt Whitman started -- poems that explore American characters, our battles and desires, our multitude'ness. Beers is one of those poets. Like many poets, she has walked in two kinds of dust -- the sweat of working class rural America and the must of academia -- and she manages to embrace and reject both as appropriate.

I will carry the memory of the woman in the dollar store with me for a long time.

These poems ache, sometimes, but they also
Ray Melnik
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Writers make me feel, only when they are willing to be truthful without colorful disguises. Shaindel Beers' "A Brief History of Time is more than honest. It collectively tells a story that allows us to see deeply enough to compare it to our own. "First Love", "Belonging" and others made me think of what I had, lost and finally, why. "Last Train From The City" made me angry at the woman as well. "I Give You Words" I've made my own. The story between the pages is compelling. Shaindel is that ...more
Amy Harper
Oct 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Most of the poems in this collection are narrative. They are pared down to essential details; transmogrifying words into emotions. Some poems harken to confessionals; others are more like persona poems. And the fact that the reader cannot tell the difference, is both enlightening and mysterious. The poet has a way with words, and a way with story-telling. Beers brings alive the vastness of landscape: literally, figuratively, and beautifully.
Apr 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I knew when we had a conversation about fishing that I would like Beers's work. Her poetry is surprising and takes new tacks on old themes. Her hearbreaking poems like "Tryptich" and "To CKC, Stillborn" are balanced by more humorous ones such as "Taking Back the Bra Drawer" and "Why Gold-digging Fails." Her power is in the accumulation of the poem in its entirety and each small or profound message contained therein.
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Beers was a professor of mine at Blue Mountain. I have heard her read before, but never took the time to sit down and read her first collection. I didn't know how I would feel about it, knowing her, separating her from her poems, her art, what that bias would do to my view of her work. I must say though, as someone born in rural America, I resonated a lot with many of these poems. I was really impressed by a good many of them. Looking forward to reading her other collections.
Jul 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This collection of poems is absolutely beautiful. You don't need to be a big fan of poetry to enjoy this book - there's really something for everyone here and Shaindel Beers has a style that immediately grabs you and is immensely readable. My favorites were the refreshingly honest "My Love, A Partial Explanation", the beautiful "Belonging" and the deeply emotional "A Man Walks Into a Bar."
May 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A remarkable first book by a talented and visionary young poet. The range of her poetry is surprising and her "lived" experience of the world much beyond her years. The fruit of her poetry tree is ripe and full of juice -- humor, sadness, revelation.
Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shaindel Beers’ “A Brief History of Time” grips the heart in a gentle vise. It exquisitely does what good poetry should do: paints word pictures, capturing moments of human experience and immersing the reader within them. These poems are works of art, worth revisiting many times.
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beers words are all about shaking and grabbing, fighting complacency and stupor.

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Shaindel Beers is author of the poetry collections A Brief History of Time (Salt Publishing, 2009), The Children’s War and Other Poems (Salt, 2013), and Secure Your Own Mask (White Pine Press, 2018). Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She is currently an instructor of English at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon, in ...more