Bermuda Ferris Wheel
2019 Winner of the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award
by Bryce Berkowitz
paperback, 70 pages
Berkowitz’s artful poems are stunningly moving. Although there are moments of humor and complexity of tone, the book is not irony-stuffed but decidedly romantic, reminding us of Joe Bolton’s work. Berkowitz’s awareness of nature throughout Bermuda Ferris Wheel comes from an attention to detail and texture, indicating a self-consciousness married to an awareness of everything that is other. Any self-absorption that might overwhelm the poems is tempered by the artfulness of the descriptive writing, the poet’s strong sense of place, the various manifold localities that serve as the poet’s own flawed Eden, redemptive and indicative of failure in equal parts. It’s a kind of higher power, this presence that gives life to cities and landscapes and wraps the autobiographical elements of these poems in the glow of significance.
“The poems in Bryce Berkowitz’s brilliant first book are shrewd, fast-paced and philosophically wise. Bermuda Ferris Wheel is a book of journeying, filled with sudden and rhythmic moments of moving around. Berkowitz documents the places—the streets, the restaurants, the trees—with a passionate looking, and the voice of these poems is that of a Hermes figure, an agile messenger, restless and seeking. Beneath this story lies the spirit of addiction passed down from parent to child. ‘Honey, you’re just like me’, the mother says, as the poet begins to take his place in that sad company. Still, there is an insistent joy here as the Ferris wheel of the title turns and turns in some sunny Bermuda of the heart. Bryce Berkowitz has created a wild unforgettable ride, a stunning debut.”
—Maggie Anderson, author of Dear All (Four Way Books, 2017)
About the Author
Bryce Berkowitz is the winner of the Austin Film Festival’s AMC TV Pilot Award. His poems have been selected for national and regional anthologies, including Best New Poets and New Poetry from the Midwest. He is a recipient of the Illinois Emerging Writers / Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award and a winner of the Big Muddy / Southeastern Missouri State U. Short Story Competition. His writing has appeared in The Missouri Review, The Sewanee Review, Ninth Letter, and other publications. He teaches at Butler University.