VICTORY by Ben Kopel

24 Apr

VICTORY by Ben Kopel
H_NGM_N BKS, January 2012
112 pages,  $14.95

I feel lucky that I came in contact with this book.  I hadn’t caught word of it ‘til Nate Pritts at H_NGM_N asked me to design promotional buttons for the thing.  He sent me three of them in the mail along with the book, which looks like it can cut you open.

One of the epigrams comes from Patti Smith:  I’ll give you one tip:  use your fists.  Here is a sizable chunk of the opening poem, “Gymnasium of the Sacred Heart,” which throws its fists like fight and celebration:

Two boys, wearing track jackets,
with shaved heads and smooth hands,
are breathing Pine-Sol out of
a plastic bag and breaking
into a car with coat hangers.
Sad, thin-skinned kids with flammable
names and feathers for lungs.
Who tape their regrets to the top of the Atari.
Who write out their girlfriends’ names in gasoline.
Who take a match to the front yard
before cutting a path through police tape
to get to a tall, cool, catholic school gym.
From the bleachers they stand as if to say
I sing for the canary gassed beyond belief
in the basement of the biology building.
I scream City of Love! City by the River!
Don’t disown your skinny fisted sons
locked inside the locker room.
They too are the father of you.
They too are made mostly of noise.

Reading Kopel’s book reminds me of listening to early U2 for the first time at 14, falling hard for how they were honest and wounded yet on fire, totally present and alive.  Bono’s mother died when he was 14, and his lyrics often wrestle with his growing up as a boy desperate to fill her absence.  VICTORY possesses that same fierce youthfulness, an anthem for beautiful and ragged sons who grow up keying names into car doors, kissing in parking lots, and hungering for whatever genuine loves can fill the absences they carry.

The only reason I didn’t finish the thing in one sitting was having to work and I’m going back through, being blown away again by these poems.  If you’re  not convinced, here’s another fireball called “Because We Must:”

The kids from the federal
tanning booths have burned
down the Dairy Queen again.

Everyone died warm
& no one was alone.

. .

. .

We had a good time.  I remember ice cream.
I remember legs.  I remember gym shorts.

. .

. .

A prayer, now
& at the hour of our death –
Fill me with yr light inside this car.
Fill me with yr light.

Available from:
H_NGM_N BKS | Powell’s | Amazon

About these ads

18 Responses to “VICTORY by Ben Kopel”

  1. www.easy2pass.co.uk May 29, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

    I would like to see more posts like this!.. Great blog btw! Reisadvies Subscribed..

  2. www.maxweb.co.uk May 29, 2013 at 11:52 pm #

    Is it alright to put part of this on my webpage if I include a reference to this website?

  3. www.ccubc.ca June 4, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    I have 3 open bank credit cards, one of them I opened for my former home business. I had a couple of other accounts, but they were closed by the issuer last year, because I didnt use them. The only problem I have with that is one of the cards was my oldest account, and had a relatively large available balance of $12,800. I know my credit score took a hit for a few months after those cards were closed, because my average card age and overall credit availability were lessened. Although I was not in the market for any new credit, I think that there should be a special notation on credit reports when cards are closed due to inactivity, and the credit score calculation formula adjusted not to reflect a higher debt to available credit ratio

  4. www.terdoest.be June 4, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    loryn video gunsmoke video collection elgar video hasta manana utube.

  5. www.azurls.com June 4, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    I would like to see more posts like this!.. Great blog btw! Reisadvies Subscribed..

  6. comment3 star tattoos

  7. Discount Andrew Luck Jersey For Sale July 4, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    Good article, thanks. Can you tell us about the second paragraph in more detail?

  8. Wholesale Lacoste Polo Shirts July 10, 2013 at 1:54 am #

    This is a good post, I stumbled across your article while looking for free downloads. Thanks for sharing, Ill be sure to come back

  9. www.geedee-modelshop.com July 30, 2013 at 6:54 am #

    Just a quick hello and also to thank you for discussing your suggestions on this page. I wound up on your weblog after researching physical fitness associated items on Yahoo guess I lost track of what I had been performing! Anyway I’ll be back once more in the future to check out your blogposts down the road. Thanks!

  10. www.jadestar.com.tw August 1, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    As for me it is a really good point of view. I meet people who rather say what they suppose others want to hear. Good and well written! I will come back to your site for sure!

  11. www.leesrubs.com August 2, 2013 at 2:42 am #

    if you dont mind, where do you host your blog? I am looking for a good host and your blog seams to be fast and up all the time

  12. www.asiltekstil.com September 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    Great design first thing Second thing the prespective at which you see the sport is quite neutral quite in my words wikipedia style. This is a welcome change from people who are either racist or support a particular agenda.!

  13. zedware.com.au September 29, 2013 at 5:32 am #

    movers in San Antonio

  14. www.gubres.com September 29, 2013 at 5:33 am #

    lady gaga is cool

  15. michael kors handbags outlet March 26, 2014 at 12:20 am #

    It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future
    and it is time to be happy. I have read this
    post and if I could I want to suggest you some interesting things or tips.

    Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this
    article. I wish to read more things about it!

    michael kors handbags outlet

  16. auto for sales May 30, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

    Very rapidly this website will be famous among all
    blog visitors, due to it’s fastidious content

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Awful Interview: Ben Kopel « Vouched Books - June 27, 2012

    [...] Kopel probably sounds familiar. That’s probably because of Layne’s awesome review of his book, Victory, recently released by H_NGM_N. If that’s not why, it’s probably because his [...]

  2. SSR #7 of 15: Victory « Vouched Books - July 9, 2012

    [...] again, Layne beat me to the punch on this one at Vouched, but holy-moly is it worth a second mention! Also, check out Megan [...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,703 other followers

%d bloggers like this: