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Dark Card Paperback – June 12, 2008

4.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Centered on the experience of raising a special child and the cruelty we inflict on difference, these poems will break and heal your heart, their rage, hope, insight and love carried by a poetic power as targeted as a bullet-train.... this is an extraordinary debut from a writer wise, brave, darkly witty and unrelentingly inventive, one with a story to tell and a voice to make it sing." - Barry Spacks, First Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara and Commonwealth Club of California Poetry Medalist "There's an allusion in these pages to Emily Dickinson's line about hope being the thing with feathers, and there is a lot of hope and determination in these fine poems about a mother's love for her autistic son. The poems travel from his birth through his pre-teen years, and the language is always precise, sometimes fierce... Dark Card illuminates with its darkness." - Robert Phillips, Series Judge"

From the Publisher

Winner of the 2007 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Award
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Texas Review Press; First edition. edition (June 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933896140
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933896144
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,833,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Candace Hale on July 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
Highly recommended, even for people who don't usually read poetry. Becky Foust is the mother of a now-adult son with Asperger's syndrome -- a neurological condition on the autism scale -- and Dark Card is a book of linked poems on the different aspects of that experience. The poems are good in themselves ---indeed, some are wonderful --- but the book's particular power lies in the juxtaposition of different timbres and resonances. The poems are immediate and accessible, allowing the reader to roam a layered and fascinating universe of anger, admiration, wistfulness, grief, and -- perhaps surprisingly -- joy. And the story line creates an experience more like reading a novel that reading poetry. Indeed, it's not exaggerating to say that Dark Card is a page-turner! A beautiful book.
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By A on July 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Becky Foust has detangled the threads of a complicated--sometimes terrifying, sometimes amazing--world into a powerful collection of poems about raising a son with Aspersers syndrome. Her poems are packed with clarity and insight, brutal honesty and stunning beauty. Every word is just right, like each one is the piece to an ancient mosaic that once lay crumbled in ruin at Foust's feet. Dark Card guides the reader on a journey through autism--from the mother's perspective. Foust begins with the birth of her firstborn son and with her we travel through the dark world of school yard tauntings, blame, diagnosis, and are amazed by her son's ability to see and understand things to which most of us are blind.
"My son is gentler with moths than people ever were to him," Foust writes in the collection's final poem--The Peripheral Becomes Crucial. This collection is beautifully and precisely written. Foust's empathy, intelligence, and gift as a poet shine through on every page.
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Format: Paperback
I read Dark Card on my vacation. I reacted most deeply to Perfect Target, Sweet Heart, Begin Again - all three made me pause and just feel sick about how cruel people can be to each other and the impacts of seemingly small events on a precious life. It makes me wonder how easily we as individuals and a culture are afraid of vulnerability and the need for eliminating the weak to make ourselves feel strong rather than embracing them. These three poems are marked with tears. There were a few others that really hit me in the gut for how much the emotional content of the poem became my own: Apologies to My OB-GYN, No Longer Medusa, Unreachable Child, He Never Lies, Eighteen (he made it!), Refrigorator Mom. These poems are marked with a check to reread. Thank you for sharing yourself and your son's journey through poetry.
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Format: Paperback
The twenty seven linked poems of Dark Card, winner of the 2007 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook award, turn on the poet's experience of raising her son, born with Asperger's syndrome. The narrative arc travels from grief and white-hot anger, to Foust's difficulty in accepting all aspects of her child's disability, opening finally onto transformative acceptance-- a state of grace, perhaps. The resonance of recurring themes and images help mould this collection into an almost novelistic whole.

Foust shows us her gifted, afflicted child as he is. We learn about the syndrome's manifestations, the child's neurological deficits, the wrong-headed practices of institutions responsible for him. When, in the title poem, the boy creates a scene at school, we are shown the coping mechanisms of his mother, as well: she plays the "dark card of the idiot savant ... /...It's my ploy to exorcise their pitchforks and torches/... But it's a swindle, a flimflam, a lie/ a not-celebration of what he sees/with his inward-turned eye:/the patterns in everything---"
The poet's emotions overflow the page. She rages against the possible sources of her son's syndrome. Like a tongue to a tooth, the author worries "...that Gordian- knot neck-throttled curse, /that gene-encrypted, linked-chain curse,//that DES-taken-by-his grandmother curse,/that fumble-fingered-fool-doctor-shaped curse..." . She spits out her indictments in diatribes worthy of the name. Her anger hits its target in "Palace Eunuch":

Don't say you were trying to be kind,
you ball-less prick soft dick eunuch
cowardly coin-counting conservator.
You were practically pissing yourself
in your fear of malpractice,
you were shaking in your green paper booties.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Life as art ... there is a special gift in the ability to share one's life as art, to issue a challenge to each beholder, to trigger a deeper reaching within and without, to one's coming away changed. The amazingly insightful cover and the signpost of a title dare us to pass through this doorway, to accept the challenge to go beyond and experience what these travelers before us offer to share. Will any two come away with the same experience? I don't think so. For me this journey was worth the beauty, love, and mystery revealed along side the pain of Dark Card. Without the presence of light, we would not even see this silhouette. I am thankful that there are artists and poets who can transcend the dark to share their lives by shining light.
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