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Broken People

The Science of Broken People
Todd Heldt

Praise for Science Of Broken People

"Like polishing stones with words": so this collection signals its implicit task. Such words would have to have grit, abrasives, in them, and these poems are often hard: they refuse complacency. Wisely, they enact the dramas by which words and reality -- desire and circumstance -- are inextricably bound up:

how easy a fact turns into a story,
and a story turns into a fact-
the burden of things that happen
in my head.

But if writing itself is an issue in these poems, it stems not from that tired, narcissistic chic of self-reflexiveness, but from the urgency of the endeavor - the real struggle that honest communication requires. The honesty is this: if there is a divine perfection, we can only approach it from human imperfection. And so, as the title suggests, this is the study of brokenness, in the way that (as one poem points out) the Book of Revelation is also a book if destruction. The knowledge (Latin:scientia) gained here is a vision of love, rendered through Todd Heldt's masterly command of tonality.

William Wenthe
Pulitzer Prize Nominee
Author of Not Till We Are Lost and Birds of Hoboken

How do we live in a world that tempts us with transcendence even as it demands that we accept being our own passage? There is no way to love but the hard way, and Todd Heldt's poems discover that the pursuit of meaning is identical to the attainment of love. He does not insist that we overcome the so-called human condition but that we learn the difference between false dilemmas and genuine ones, finding poignancy in recognizing that our limitations, if not fully comprehensible, have an inviolable comprehending power. These well-crafted poems suggest that poetry itself is is the science of broken people, is the means for deliberating about the ends to which we know we don't deserve to come, but from which we can attain much more than what might have been.

Gale Acuff
Author of Buffalo Nickel

I have an affinity for things that are vaguely gothic in the Faulknerian sense, and these poems fit the bill. Ghostly train-wrecks and car crashes, crosses lining the road... all filtered through a richness of language, image and rhythm that's incredably haunting. I get the feeling that the speaker in these poems truely lives inside them and makes them breathe, which is a sense I don't get with a lot of work I've seen -- the "oh, I'm so cool, let me talk to you about the mundane minutiae of my daily life" school of poetry. These poems are important and engaging, every single damn one.

Kristy Bowen
Author of Bloody Mary and The Archaeologists Daughter

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Broken People

The Science of Broken People
By Todd Heldt
Chapbook, 42 pages, Published by Little Poem Press
5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches, 2004

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