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Iron Man Family Outing : Poems About Transition Into A More Conscious Manhood Paperback – November 1, 1990

4.9 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This is a must-have text for professionals working therapeutically with men. --Daniel S. Saland, Psy.D.

This collection of harrowing and healing poetry is the best volume of men's poetry I have read. --Lyman Grant, Editor, MAN! magazine

I would love to put a copy of this book into the hands of every male I know, but I also encourage those of my gender who seek to better understand the male psyche to pick up a copy of this book. --Healing & Recovery for Men at Gift From Within --Healing & Recovery for Men at Gift From Within

This collection of harrowing and healing poetry is the best volume of men's poetry I have read. --Lyman Grant, Editor, MAN! magazine

I would love to put a copy of this book into the hands of every male I know, but I also encourage those of my gender who seek to better understand the male psyche to pick up a copy of this book. --Healing & Recovery for Men at Gift From Within

From the Author

I never intended to write this book, or any book for that matter. And I certainly didn't set out initially to share something this raw and personal with the rest of the world. But as these poems emerged and took shape, it became clear to me that there was a powerful transpersonal process at work that was bigger than me and my own life.

In that context, the creation of this book took on something of a sacred quality for me. I came to realize that, by opening a window into some of the deepest, most intimate places in myself and my process, I might also help other men see themselves more clearly and take action to address issues in their own lives. I hope that both men and women alike can find some truly personal value in this work.

I would also like to acknowledge the work of artist John Dolley, who did such an incredible job of bringing so many of the themes and images in the book to life with his haunting, beautifully rendered illustrations.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Richard M. Belden (November 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0911051562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0911051568
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #833,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I don't read much but this is a book that I can't put down. Throughout my journey in life, often times I've felt alone. As a man in his mid-thirties, it often seems that no one is eager to empathize with your struggles in life. Often times, I find myself in a sad place where I feel uncared for and misunderstood.

This book is a real eye opener. It's very rare to find someone like Rick who can articulate his emotion in such a way that it really moves you. Like many of the other reviewers have stated, be prepared. I don't allow myself to "feel" much, but as I read along with the "Iron Man" I can feel myself opening up to someone who is showing empathy for themselves, and in a way, for me.

To say I was able to identify with this book is an understatement. I feel as though I do the book a disservice by calling it a "tool" in my theraputic arsenal, but that's the best way to describe it. The collection of poems is such an easy read -- read one and you will be immediately absorbed to where you can't put it down. Whenever I'm feeling low, and feel that no one empathizes with me, I pick up the "Iron Man" and realize that my struggles aren't always unique, and that I'm not alone in how I feel.

This book sits in the top drawer of my desk, there whenever I need it.

Thanks Rick.
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Iron Man Family Outing is a deeply moving book for those of us who experienced childhoods dominated and overshadowed by dysfunctional fathers. So many of us identified with one superhero or another in our childhood as a way of believing in a being who possessed fewer or none of the obvious flaws and deficits in maturity and behavior our fathers so vividly demonstrated. Still, even in our conflicted memories of "Dad" we feel love, compassion, and bonding for the humanness that was our father. Mine passed away when I was 15 leaving me to reconcile the vast divide between us over a lifetime. This book helped me identify with others who have experienced similar relationships with their Dads.
Two especially poignant poems in the book moved me to tears. One is "dad I got," and expresses the intensity the author felt describing his relationship. He writes "he works in a factory hates his job takes it out on us," "he thinks the world is against him," "I love him, I need him, I hate him, I miss him," "this is the dad I got." Later in the book the poem "charley horse" provides us with a glimpse into a moment of connection between father and son. The author writes "he seemed more open in those moments, I didn't feel like he hated me then," "in those brief moments I always felt like I was just like him." I felt similar connections between my Dad and myself at times and the way they were expressed in this book helped me remember those times and see my Dad as more than an individual caught in circumstances he could scarcely control nor was emotionally equipped to handle. I see my Dad in context now and feel his humanness, flaws and all.
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By Shelley Imholte on September 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
Belden has taken my breath away with this compilation of poems. His work contradicts many of the deeply held stereotypes of men. He weaves the reader in and out of both tragedy and hope. His naked truth about his family, his relationships, his work, sex, and discovering himself will take the reader on a journey of intimacy, vulnerabilty, strength, and resilence. A true 'hero' is Belden for taking on such a challenge and rising above the things that haunt many of us. Thank you Rick!

Shelley Imholte, LMSW
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Rick Belden's honest, soul-savaged book of poems gives a very real accounting of the childhood trauma that goes unrecognized/unabated in today's increasingly violent, mental health-challenged, fragmented, and burned out society. Rick's book could serve as a template for any man (or woman) who wants to do the hard work of recovery and resilience-building from toxic childhood stress. He bravely shows us how these multiple traumas can lead to anxiety, addictions to alcohol, drugs, and/or sex, which only further mask the pain. These poems also allude to the emotionally ripped apart families borne of individual family member reactions to abuse and trauma (not everyone can face the demons in their family and deal with them openly). Rick's book captures the pain of society's past missed opportunities to help families and children suffering in seemingly silent, suburban nirvana. In fact, the book begs the question "How many little boys and girls today are reaching for super heroes/comic book characters to help them through their terrors while the rest of us maintain our idyllic suburban Disney-like images of their unrecognized childhoods?". Highly recommend this book for men, women, and family members of dysfunctional, abusive, traumatic lives, or those who want to understand their impact on society.
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So many times in my life I have looked for words to explain what was happening and found none. I did not think the words even existed. Nobody could explain what all this madness was, and more importantly, what it meant.

But Rick could. And Rick did.

Iron Man Family outing has awakened me to new forms of consciousness I did not think were possible. The man's mantra of "do and don't think/feel" had ruled my life for years until Rick found a way with his poetry to say the things I could not or dare not say. Family Outing leaves no stone (or armor, as it were) unturned as Belden explores the hurts passed down by our forefathers, the way we as men perpetuate unhealthy patterns, and the pieces of our identity we struggle to synthesize. The poems are grounded. The writing is accessible. The feelings are raw. The breadth of the subject matter can leave you solemn or winded. Either way you can't help but be thankful.

As a therapist I like to work with men's issues. I now use Family Outing as an essential reading tool for self-exploration and awakening. It has been enjoyed by both the growing men I have had the honor of meeting in therapy, as well as colleagues whom are open to issues specific to men. If you want to know more about the internal workings of the mythical man, if you want to understand what it's like to be a man in a modern age, if you just want to get a new/raw/honest perspective on the life we all share on this planet, you MUST read this book.
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