Bio of B.E. Stock

BIO OF B. E. STOCK B. E. Stock has been writing poetry since the age of eight, and has lived in New York City since age 16. She studied...

Hello, and welcome to Stock Bard!

I'm sharing some samples from Collected Poems. Just lines here and there to give you an idea of what's to be found in the collection, along with many poems that were in the chapbooks.


With proud quotes for a captain of her soul
We mourn and salute the English teacher's brain
Dry-eyed. But I didn't have her in school.
We used to play Chinese checkers when it rained.

To give to you would be
Pouring my blood down the drain
Not giving, I open your sores
Grow your stubble and rot your socks


Night falls on the great city...
Here the great murders happen
Broadway spreads its whore lights
close to the filthy river...
And sometimes on the surface of the stinking swamp
Art opens her incongruous flower


Death paid a visit to his future bride
Who suffered so suggestively in bed
and was about to court the surgeon's knife...


But in his resounding closet
Abandoning greed and are
The bellplayer's strokes appeal
And shimmer the weary air...

And few have the time to notice
In his beautiful tones unfurled
Time going out of focus
At the gates of the other world.


And thus it is that poetry "progresses"
Becoming nakeder and uglier in nature
No longer laboring with form's ecstatic messes
But taking the dullness of prose in every feature...


I'm out at eight for the ice cream
Out at nine for the booze
Get a candy bar at eleven
I'm deep in the sugar blues
And no one gets between me and my


How strange is love, I testify
Love can be angry, leave alone,
Rejoice to see the loved one die
For justice - love can build with stone.
Poets in love are on the loose
With bombs of laughter, knives of scorn...

Now I want to talk about "Sally Jordan", a narrative poem that was published with two others in the book Three Women: Touching the Boundaries of Life, by Mellen Press in 1996. I had the inspiration for the poem when I saw homeless people washing their clothes in the little fountain that used to be at the foot of City Hall Park in Manhattan, across the street from my office. It was several years before the book was published. I thought about a baglady carrying a cart full of books, thinking about ultimate matters in a world falling apart. I wrote a poem in "non-iambic blank verse", I think it was about 12 pages long. Then I saw a notice of a contest for a Dante-like poem with a woman hero, and they wanted something longer, so I expanded it, meanwhile sharing my process with others in a workshop at Poets & Writers. To my delight, I won third prize and made it into the book, where Felicia Mitchell Ph.D. in her preface on all three poems had a lot of insight into what I was about. As often happens, efforts to promote the book did not get very far.

"Sally Jordan" has a long "Prelude" explaining the background of the story, what is happening to the world and to Sally, my rationale for the way I wrote, etc. Then there are five sections, headed with Roman numerals, each beginning with a prose summary. In the first section, Sally takes a bath in the fountain and feeds the birds. She beholds her reflection,

"Notes the white and furrowed face, the restless
fingers wrapping the skinny arms, the silver
Hair that falls in wisps around her shoulders.
Slowly she bathes, despite the cold that tortures
Joints that have wintered on the frozen grass.
Orange and gold yield to blue and white
Cresting the dappled surface and reflecting
Sunrise brilliance fading into morning."

People have created a stove out of paving stones and cook for their children; rats plunder the corpses of men and dogs. Sally's observations are mingled with memories of how it used to be. She recalls the office romance with her ill-fated husband, Gil.

"Gil, the librarian, would send a reference
Into the terminals upon request
But into Sally's also flashed the greetings
Lovers exchange, and often set her blushing.
Down in the kitchen, microwaving popcorn,
Sally would save him some and send a package
Up to his cell by tube, a kiss exploding
Into his morning, green and red and yellow."

While she is eating breakfast, Sally witnesses an attack upon the families by a gang of leather boys:

"Sinking their knives and teeth in hungry hatred
Into the flesh of women men and babies
Driving them off, grabbing their food and clothing.
One in particular, the leader, taking
Into his hands a child whose mother's dying,
Smashes its head against a tree trunk, laughing."

In the second section, Sally reflects on the fate of our civilization, how Gil died, how she went mad and was evicted, and her experience at a Christian commune started by a Father Alexis. She met Melinda in an insane asylum, then later she came to find her and bring her to the commune. However, Sally is haunted by what has happened to her and is unable to concentrate on the farming work that keeps the community going. Moreover, the holy zeal in the chapel frightens her and makes her feel judged as unworthy. She is unable to make a decision of faith, so Melinda and Father Alexis return her to her encampment in City Hall park. They come once in a while with provisions.

In the third section, Sally, traumatized by the gang raid she has seen, finds a quiet spot in the ruined courthouse and rereads the prophecies of Fr. Alexis, hoping that she will be able to believe in time before the last things come to pass. In an ironic twist, she is moved by the sight of a mouse suckling her young.

"Lifting the papers, though, for just a moment,
Something shocked her there on the crumbling floor:
Baby mice tiny and naked sucking
Their mother, heartbeats pulsing under their skins.
Moved by their helpless innocence, she paused and
Thought for a moment God could not destroy
The earth while such a wonder still existed."

The prophecies are given at length, and then there is a rather wild "Log of prophecies and fulfillments" which includes The Wizard, Allin Murdock, becoming Mayor of New York and then President of the United States, the Harlot being honored in the Godbox, the Catholic Center, the Episcopal Church Center, and the Greek Orthodox Diocese, and radioactive water escaping from under Columbia University. Then there are "World Signs" which include killer bees and part of Africa breaking off. At the end, Fr. Alexis relates that he was defrocked by the Orthodox Church for prophecying against the Christian centers.

In Section IV, Sally finds she believes, and prays; Melinda comes and they have lunch outside. They go to the commune by dog cart.

In Section V, the Christians pray for the appearance of Christ. As Sally is recovering in her room, she is awakened by light and goes outside to join the others.

"Light from the Light Eternal now descending
Brings alive the furniture, the ceiling.
Sally awakes and throws away the blanket
Looks for the stagnant water and is startled
When through the windowframe she sees a cross
Beckoning, burning time from off her heart
Then outside a shout of exultation
Breaks from a crowd assembled on the meadow."

Amid the resurrection, Sally looks for Gil and her family. She sees the restoration of her mother's cancer-riddled body,

"Wherein a cold light like a flashlight
Enters, searches out the tumors, chases
One by one those lumps up to the surface
Where they are turned to rubies, diamonds, garnets
And sapphires. Thereupon the bones are knitted
Again by living, gleaming cartilage."

Jesus appears and opens her mind to greater truth; she sees Gil and her father, and is reunited with her mother and brother. Jesus expands and fill the whole sky, and the City is taken to the Father against his breast.

"Sally has disappeared, for she is gazing
So steadily upon the eyes of Jesus
Blissfully black and filled with love portentous
No other sight can move her from that gaze
Wherein she drinks the very Life of Life."

Light of light, life of life. The black eyes of Jesus - the great mystery, the infinite depth. Blissfully black!

Well, it was tremendous fun. The contest apparently drew manuscripts from around the world. I actually got a note of appreciation and congratulations from a contestant in India.

Thanks for listening, and take care.

Love, Barbara

Hi, all!

I want to talk a little about my book. Collected Poems is to me a concrete sign of how the universe cares for us. In 2000, I was separated from my husband, living alone; my company had upgraded the computers and started using e-mail, and I wasn't doing well learning it. I wanted to publish my book, and could not imagine how. I had no computer at home. A man started talking to me in the ground floor cafe of the World Trade Center. He befriended me, built me a computer, taught me Word and e-mail, and helped me out with his car. I published Collected Poems in the spring of 2001. Six months later, the towers would be blown up, downtown Manhattan would become a miasma, and the poetry scene would be practically non-existent. A couple of years later, George excused himself from my life. His job was complete. My father helped me promote and distribute the book. My husband supported my efforts; we got back together. I set up the book on my computer, and had it printed by a firm that advertised in Poets and Writers Magazine. I was hampered in distribution because they wouldn't get me an ISBN, but I believe I did distribute 300-400 copies. It's hard to know because they sent (and charged me for) a lot more than I ordered. I chose a large font which looks like old manuscripts, and like the things I printed on my hand press when I had Stock Poetry in 1976. Some thought the size unprofessional. However, a lady I knew read one of the poems to someone she cared about, who was struggling with the sugar devil, just before she went blind with macular degeneration. I'd rather have that than be the coolest tiger in the jungle.

So how can you obtain copies of my work? Until I have a payment system, you can send a check to:

B. E. Stock
9322 Third Avenue #246
Brooklyn, NY 11209.

Prices are as follows:

Collected Poems - $10
Three Women - $8
In Praise of Leisure - $5
Soliloquies - $5
16 Poems - $5

Chapbook pack - $10
Pub Package (all I got) - $25

If you want one of the poems I sample, I will send a copy on nice paper with an autograph for $2.50.

In the meantime, let's hoist a coffee for beauty and inspiration. Yeah!

Love, Barbara
Here are samples from my chapbook 16 Poems, which is 20 pages long.

The sun may go around the earth
The earth around the sun
But I will always be around
To love my pretty one

To love my pretty ugly one
My baby monster dear
And I will always sing her song
And beg you for a tear...


...I lifted
The shade gently as a veil
From the foul city night
And looked into a street
Full of devastated windows.
Brother Night, give me the news.
Where are you? What are they doing to you?...


He'll tell you love is stupid
A waste of precious time
And only work is sacred
And only play sublime

But once you really touch him
You'll know why he pretends...

And Soliloquies, which is 12 pages.

I walk down a sunset side street
Faded curtains on the upper floors
I catch the sound of the Voice of Heaven
...I know it's a hard hard road
Look away from the hatred the ugliness...
When I wrote this song I was starving
No one gave me a penny or a flower
I was sick in bed with a headache
Didn't have the money for another candle


Sunlight on a rusty fire escape
Two flies loving
He is big insatiable gentle and still
She is small, insatiable, and sometimes
Too ecstatic
Has to rub her hands over her face...

And In Praise of Leisure, 34 page

...sat upon
The steps, and watched the air turn red and gold
And shadows lengthen, till the day was gone.
In silence, till he said, "It's beautiful",
We sat together...


And I could wish to live a such a height
As to know how this plant, alive and plain,
Surrenders color and symbol, and is white


I heard of one who had his case
Held up in court for years
In iron vaults they kept his face
And counted up the tears
He lost his lease and could not find
A street where he could stand
For every nook he had in mind
Contained another man


A story of Astoria
I tell you I could tell
The day the tea from Italy
Was beaten by Brazil

Interested? I will be posting information on how you an obtain this yummy stuff and a lot more!

Till then, vaca con Dies.
Hello, and welcome to Stock Bard.

I'm delighted to have a chance to introduce you to my poetry and fiction.
After 60 years, I'm more convinced than ever that beauty, and the promotion of life-giving values through language and other media of expression, are the most revolutionary actions that anyone can take. Ideas and how we express them will change over time and experience, so how you respond to my work may have more to do with the way you take in the process of it, than whether I conform to a certain theory or tradition or format. A short poem, of course, is like a snapshot, and I hope I have many that "came out well."

In the 1970s-90s, I participated in a lot of poetry readings, got poems published in little magazines, and self-published chapbooks and broadsides, which I sold at readings and, early on, on the street. The chapbooks sold out and were printed again. The one from Stock Poetry published in 1976 is called 16 Poems, and I can print it on demand. The second one is Soliloquies, largely free verse and serious. I have physical copies of that in storage, and the same is true of the third chapbook, In Praise of Leisure, published in 1996. That one is larger, and has a lot of poems in traditional forms, many of them whimsical or humorous. In 2001, just before the attack on the Twin Towers, I published my Collected Poems, over 200 pages of poems from various eras of my life. Many are reprinted from the chapbooks; others were first published in literary magazines. There is also "Sally Jordan", which I will talk about later.

In the days ahead, I will be posting sample passages to give you an idea of what my poetry is like, as well as information on how you can obtain a copy of something that appeals to you.

So welcome again, and come back soon.

Yours, Barbara

Bio of B.E. Stock


B. E. Stock has been writing poetry since the age of eight, and has lived in New York City since age 16. She studied poetry and fiction writing with Miller Williams, Maxine Kumin, Muriel Rukeyser, E.L. Doctorow, Dana Gioa, Alfred Dorn and others. She has been published widely in literary magazines and anthologies and won cash prizes and honors throughout the U.S. and abroad. She has featured in numerous cafes and clubs in New York City including the Old Stone House, Belanthi Gallery, the Shelley Society, New York Poetry Forum and Borders/World Trade Center, and won prizes and honors throughout the US and abroad. She appeared on Brooklyn Cable Public Access' poetry program, Earth Is Not On Tape; her work is archived at Poets House and the Small Press Center. 

B. E. Stock's work is lyrical and prophetic, analytical and abundant. She uses strict form, stretched form, evolving form and free verse. Subjects include love, creativity, social issues, God, time, other poets, and anything else that can be brought within the ambit of her searching thought life. There is usually an element of hope or affirmation, and she is a fierce defender of the right to question, reason and decide, the necessity to uphold the highest ethical standards, and the sacredness of the human person.