Lucy Kent and other poems

The name of an unknown woman, found on a rejection slip left in an old library book, provides a starting place for Stephen Bett's searching and profound examination of literature, society and politics. This is the first book of a poet with a strong and individual voice, which takes a precise measure of its own rhythms, and of the contemporary world.

Ordering Lucy Kent

What Others Are Saying

[In Lucy Kent] one is struck by a freshness and an ease in the use of language as both subject and vehicle.... [Bett] re-invents language in the process of writing.... [His] book is extensive and full of poems which show an acute awareness of the politics of art and literature right from the opening lines [on John Ashbery and Jackson Pollock].... And that's the same sort of excitement Bett constantly injects into his poems.

--Cornelis Vleeskens, The CRNLE Reviews Journal (Australia)

Stephen Bett's Lucy Kent poems are clever and colloquial... and always filled with subtle constructions.

--Cathy Matyas, Essays on Canadian Writing

"Poetry is the traditional research lab where language gets re-invented, but most people renounce their own poetry at an early age. In Lucy Kent... local poet Stephen Bett notes his admiration for Jackson Pollack's method of painting, recalls an avant-garde artist who had himself crucified to a Volkswagon, then offers 17 sublime pleas to an unknown woman, Lucy Kent, whose name he has found on a rejection slip left inside an old library book. Making words dance across the page should not seem like a subversive act."

--Alan Twigg, the Vancouver Province

"What strikes me most about Bett's work-- other than its sheer skill, clarity of tone, diction, line-- is its unpretentiousness....his is an observant eye and a steady one, which plays close and thoughtful attention not only to the world but to the language."

--Peter Quartermain

"...lively, irreverent, intelligent bold and original... the new Lucy Kent poems in the present collection are just marvellous; a splendid, ironic, satirical view of the New York art scene after World War II (in Frank O'Hara's time)."

--Bill Truesdale