Stories That Listen (Stahlecker Selections) (Paperback)

By Priscilla Becker

Four Way Books, 9781935536055, 72pp.

Publication Date: October 12, 2010

List Price: 15.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Priscilla Becker, whose first book of poems, Internal West, won The Paris Review Book Prize, has written an astonishingly precise second collection, Stories That Listen. These poems attempt to come to terms with absences personal and global: one speaker wonders if a former partner still uses her map which “showed the world / before it broke up into separate / continents.” Another, missing a departed friend, retraces her steps, “took a tour of your former apartments.” The recipient of a letter containing “a fraction of an ounce of Chanel Mademoiselle” attempts to understand the sender’s motives, “tried to scrape together enough dust / to fill a bowl or roll a minuscule cigarette. / I thought perhaps that this was your intent.” Stories That Listen offers a science of the human, a way to understand the world through watching closely. Becker deftly slows action down—we see fingers “curl /around my coffee cup”—to find the remarkable, the noteworthy, in the everyday. Quirky, at times outright funny, always wise, Stories That Listen is a resonant, rewarding read.

About the Author

PRISCILLA BECKER writes music reviews, essays and book reviews. She teaches at Pratt Institute and Columbia University in NYC.