Poet Richard Beban writes for common people
September 14, 2006 - Poetry is often considered the least accessible of the written forms to common people, according to Richard Beban.
Beban, a Los Angeles-based poet, hopes to change this trend. He will read from his new poetry book, “Young Girl Eating a Bird,” at Amicus Books on Tuesday.
“In the past 50 or 60 years, poets would lock themselves away in academia and write for each other,” Beban said. “I write (poetry) for people who work 9-to-5 jobs.”
“Young Girl Eating a Bird” takes its title from a lesser-known painting by surrealist Rene Magritte. Beban was so struck by the painting, he used it for the cover of his poetry book.
“It seemed appropriate since the more you dig into life, yours or anyone's, the more surreal it seems,” Beban said.
“Young Girl” itself was also borne while Beban was in school. The book was a manuscript Beban had worked on for two years that was polished to the point that his publisher, Red Hen Press, made few changes.
Beban turned to poetry in 1993 after a 30-year career in screenwriting and journalism. “I was writing (screenplays) that were optioned but were never getting made, which wasn't as artistically fulfilling,” Beban said.
Poetry to Beban allows greater flexibility for expression. “When I'm reading my poems, I'm more in touch with my soul and make a greater connection with people.”
One of his greatest inspirations for poetry is the soul singer Sam Cooke, who had a long and distinguished career in gospel, R&B and pop music. Cooke once advised protege Bobby Womack to keep your art simple, and to write in language that people will understand, according to Beban.
“Sam Cooke's music and his inspiration to (write in a simple tone) sort of sum up what I'm trying to do,” he said. “I try to write poetry that people will understand. Some of it is lyrical, some is political, some is rhyming. I want to get people more into poetry through my own works.”
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Amicus Books, 413 D St., Marysville
Info: Call 237-6402.