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Beautiful Is Enough  (Westwords 1993) 

BEAUTIFUL IS ENOUGH ranges from prison to music, politics and sex. At its centre is a sardonic yet poignant sequence on a marriage's failure and an ensuing love affair. This unusual, outspoken collection of poems from a controversial writer — also known as a novelist and translator — includes prose-poems and translations from the French.

“I found a great deal to satisfy me in this current collection… So much close to your experience – yet the controlling wit and voice always there. Very accessible, very readable” [William Oxley] 

“I have now finished reading Beautiful Is Enough, with interest for its energetic determination to retrieve some of the lost virtues of rhyme and measure” [Harry Kemp] 

“The employment here of quite intricate rhyming patterns has clearly brought the best out of him. Lykiard himself calls the use of rhyme ‘a form of survival technique’: certainly it has helped him to articulate pain and hope in language of considerable poignancy. A moving sequence, in a stimulating volume” [Glyn Pursglove, Acumen]

"The title of Alexis Lykiard's ktest book of poems, Beautiful is Enough, might be thought to derive from Keats's famous observation, 'Beauty is truth, truth beauty — that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know'.

In fact it celebrates a phrase by Joyce, who had no time for superlatives. By and large the title sets the tone for this lean volume, and those readers hoping for a surfeit of lush imagery and lyricism will probably be disappointed.

This aside, there is much to praise here: not the least the poet's ability to share small, intimate moments with his audience... Indeed, Lykiard is probably at his best when his lines shorten to a brilliant precision... A poet of talent, polish and imagination..."

[Gary Bills, The Haiku Quarterly, no.9, 1993]

Alexis Lykiard's new book of poetry, BEAUTIFUL IS ENOUGH, is broad-gauge and hard-hitting. It centres on his marriage break up, ways of survival and spiritual comeback. The book is moving and has the ring of hard-earned truth. One poem "Interview", 1988" has special interest for readers of The Kerouac Connection:

2. Chatterton's city, autumn evening. Here's
that hero from way back - we take our seats.
My intro. Mikes and spotlights. Much to say:
laughs, poems, politics (radical still!)
Kerouac, novels, Nicaragua, Europe, USA,
painting, City Lights, and light itself. Fears
of damage to the planet. His goodwill
shines clear through audience questions, even cheers
the darkness of my 'home' - sad empty house.
Fuelled by discussion, real ale, Famous Grouse;
next day Bath too, like Bristol's, bathed in sun...
A kindred spirit, without feet of clay,
is good news indeed. So glad we've met. He
lifts the heart, does Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

For those of us who shared Ferlinghetti's last visit, this poem alone is enough inducement to buy the book, but "Another Tequila Sunset", "A Tragic Affair", "Personal Unknown" and other poems all make the £5.95 price worth while. Thanks Alexis for a very enjoyable read from all the City Lights Review Company and especially -

John & Jean Waggoner

The KEROUAC CONNECTION 25 - Autumn 1993