Shame | Shame (BOA Editions, 2015)
Selected by David St. John as the 2014 winning manuscript for the A. Poulin Jr. Prize.
Reviews of Shame | Shame
Sarah Katz, at NANO Fiction: "Becker’s work joins him on the one hand to recent prose works such as Sarah Manguso’s Ongoingness, Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, and Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation, but, on the other hand, to the more metaphysical spirit of poets Russell Edson and Zachary Schomburg." (Full Review Here)
Eric Severn, at New Orleans Review: "For Becker, the disenchanted self reaches past a self-congratulatory tone toward irony’s antitheses——feeling, and vulnerability——thus answering [David Foster] Wallace’s call for a new sincerity in an unforeseen way. Rather than bald sincerity, as Wallace forecasted, these poems use irony to achieve the very kind of sincerity that irony tends to parody." (Full Review Here)
Ray Olson, at Booklist, calls the book "an engaging first book of prose and free-verse poems ... about not humiliation but existential embarrassment, the conviction that surely being human shouldn’t entail the feelings it does. (Full Review Here )
Praise for Shame | Shame
"Devin Becker's Shame | Shame is a brilliant debut collection. Here, the prose poem has been re-imagined as a cinematic vignette, yet rooted as deeply in the American Northwest as anything in Richard Hugo and David Lynch. Raw, intimate, and elliptical in its metaphysics, Devin Becker's poetry captures an idiomatic recklessness while navigating those angular narratives of our contemporary lives."
—David St. John, from the Introduction
"When God was still too young to know any better, he touched 'THE VOID,' which, 'in a rush to fill the space His finger left,/...sent out a universe in ripples.' It shamed God that He'd disturbed perfection. He needea toy. What He came up with (and then discarded to us) was the world Devin Becker evokes in these uncommonly intimate pages. If there are items in Becker's life too small or humbling to elude his gift for turning them into irresistible news, not one of them has slipped past him into the graces of this, his first (extremely welcome) book."
"Devin Becker has written a drop-dead funny book about desolation, isolation, self-punishment, and shame. Only one for whom humor is a necessity really understands humor. Jokes can be a means of survival and almost redemptive if they make inchoate private suffering communal through its expression, and, like poems, the vitality of jokes depends on rhetorical skill, emotional authenticity, luminous intelligence, and impeccable timing-all characteristics of Devin Becker's writing that makes it so engaging and moving and exhilarating."