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Book Review: 20 Greatest Hits: Poems 1997-2004 by Terry McCarty

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20 Greatest Hits: Poems 1997-2004

Terry McCarty
Publish Green
December 30, 2011
58 pages/$2.99 (eBook)

"Reprimanded," the third poem in 20 Greatest Hits: Poems 1997-2004 by Terry McCarty is one of the strongest and, for me, the most relatable pieces in this fine collection. The poem, which I read in the Amazon “Look Inside” sample, was the reason I bought the book.

In this piece, the speaker expresses perfectly (and ironically) the "paralysis" of expression in the workplace, since so many of us "literally can't afford to respond" to the criticisms, constructive or otherwise, of our superiors. I've been this guy in the work place. I've worked with so many guys like him, and McCarty nails this guy’s voice again and again throughout the book in the other work-related poems – a job interview, a company rally, an office birthday party and corporate downsizing.

McCarty's voice shines again in "Poetry Clique," a scathing report on the state of local poetry/politics, and in "Engagement Day," an ominous indictment of our apparent commitment to consumerism during what should really be the beginning of our commitment to marriage.

And if this book opens strongly, it closes even stronger with my favorite poem of the collection, "Careless," a surprisingly optimistic and even, dare I say, sweet piece – the most subtle work in this memorable and strong collection. Here’s an excerpt:

I locked the car and left the keys inside.
I failed to tell the landlord
to fix the kitchen sink.
I forgot to take the quarterly sales report
to the office.
Worst of all,
I neglected to tell you
how much I love you.

There are also a few poems about Hollywood and some political works as well, which, although well written like the rest, were less interesting reads for me. On the whole, however, I am definitely better off for the time I spent with this e-chapbook, and that's all I can ask of any writer.

Bottom Line: Check out “Reprimand,” (the third poem) in the Amazon free sample of 20 Greatest Hits: Poems 1997-2004. If it speaks to you, buy the book, because I think you're really going to enjoy the rest.

About the author
Terry McCarty was born on July 31, 1959 in Electra, Texas. He moved to Southern California in 1988 where he worked as a background and stand-in actor. Terry began writing poetry in the summer of 1997 and has since authored six chapbooks, all of which are excerpted in "20 Greatest Hits: Poems 1997-2004," and two spoken word CDs. Visit Amazon for more titles from Terry McCarty or follow him on his blog: http://poetry-arts-confidential.blogspot.com/

Frank Mundo, LA Books Examiner, is the author of The Brubury Tales (foreword by Carolyn See) and Gary, the Four-Eyed Fairy and Other Stories. His latest book is an illustrated novella called Different. Don't forget to subscribe to his emails and follow him on Twitter @Frankemundo or @LABooksExaminer for the latest updates.

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