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FOUR WAY BOOKS: Stephen Berg, Shaving
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Four Way Books
Stephen Berg

ISBN: 1-884800-17-3
cloth, 109 pages, $23.95

ISBN: 1-884800-14-9
paper, 109 pages, $12.95

In Praise Of Stephen Berg

. . .Stephen Berg's "Shaving" is the first book of prose poems I have read that has made me re-examine the function and power of that branch of our poetry. It is a book of strenuous and often dangerous self-witness; an astounding overview of American urban life at the apex and turning point of a major civilization. . .most importantly, it is brilliantly written. . .In reading Berg you will be reading the master of the prose poem. - Jorie Graham

It comes back often when it snows or when it's cold--the cheap marbleized shiny deep blue linoleum "rug" my folks bought for my bedroom instead of a wool rug, two wide yellow and red bands about an inch apart decorating the edge, which almost touched the walls. It never seemed clean because, when the dawn sun slanted across it so it glowed, you'd see dust, the gauziest layer, you could always pick out scuffs and smears dulling the waxed surface. I never could get used to it. It was scary at night, like having heaven for the floor of your own room. Isn't that crazy? Think of it--you're about eight, lying in bed, lost, listening to Jack Benny or Sky King materialize from behind the brown plastic fins masking the speaker of the radio, rapt in those programs and the ceiling, the known limit of a ceiling, its glass-hatted fixture glistening in the center, bursts of canned laughter, King's engine gunning, Benny's plaintive wry ingenuous "Raah-chester. . .", and you envision infinity beneath you, you see what you'll step into if you need to pee or want to raid the refrigerator. On braver nights, you lie there, tuning out the world, door closed, the sky-floor all around you, in a bed, in the universe, not yet free enough to plummet or float through space that has no beginning or end, no objects, nothing to stop you: then, you peer over the bedside, once, twice, and stare hard and make out flecks of indefinite color beckoning, convinced they are stars, stars just beginning to reach us or stars so young they barely can be seen.