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We all should have been so lucky to have had the speaker in “Mama Tried” as our teacher, with her desire to keep all the children of the world safe and fed, and at the same time to be a caring mother for her own child. The poems in this collection slowly reveal the burden of understanding the difficulties faced by underprivileged children in public schools and their devoted teacher’s reaction. “Mother, teacher, woman // who collapsed, howling / screaming pain in empathy”, someone who wakes up early to cook for her students, makes sure they have the right prescription glasses. Someone who suffers the unimaginable loss of students to suicide and stray bullets. The world needs more teachers “Unwilling / to throw up [their] hands”. And we need this book. I am thankful for B. Elizabeth Beck’s brave and heartbreaking poems. Katerina Stoykova, author of The Porcupine of the Mind & others

Mama Tried reports again and again on the rage and wonder, the grief and small triumphs of the students in Elizabeth Beck’s classrooms.  With a mother’s instinct to keep everyone safe, Beck navigates a world of lockdowns and ICE, of hunger and tears with whatever it takes to shepherd her charges to a safe place.  She documents the tragic failings of our political divisions, of our educational bureaucracy, of our own insufficiencies as parents, in lines we cannot turn from. In these clear-eyed poems we witness how with only the simple tools of “gold stars, fire drills, crayons, lesson plans, desks” a necessary magic unfolds. Lynnell Edwards, author of This Great Green Valley & others

Painted Daydreams: Collection of Ekphrastic Poems

Summer Tour Trilogy

Under the Elm

The Grateful Dead built a substantial following over thirty years, and the living members continue to make important music more than fifty years after the band formed. We’re now seeing third- and fourth-generation Deadheads at these live shows, and the bookshelf of nonfiction books on the subject has grown immense in the last 40 years or so. So it’s not at all surprising to see the Grateful Dead culture depicted in fiction, and especially gratifying to see the culture treated with respect as Beck accomplishes in the final book of the SUMMER TOUR trilogy, Under the Elm. With grace and style, Beck weaves the Grateful Dead culture in a historical novel you will want to share with your children and grandchildren. David Gans, author of Playing in the Band: An Oral and Visual Portrait of the Grateful Dead

The beautiful imagery that pops off the pages of this book, pages that almost seem to turn themselves, is only enhanced by the backdrop of music, friendship, sisterhood, and everything a family can be, all while two young girls discover who they are as women and how the choices they make shape who they become. Alecia Whitaker, author of Queen of Kentucky


WORLD GONE MAD offers welcome respite in these strange days. Beck brings back the beloved characters of SUMMER TOUR, this time the story told from a slightly different perspective. We follow the kids as they navigate senior year of high school, face adversities and tragedy, and survive the effects of a global pandemic, all while holding close to the phamily they’ve found in each other. Community has been the most important aspect of being a Phish phan in 2020, and Elizabeth Beck has captured that spirit in WORLD GONE MAD. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Elisa Allechant, SiriusXM Host Phish Radio

Beck weaves music, art, and memories in this heartfelt coming-of-age story. Jessica Topper, author of LOUDER THAN LOVE


“As long as there are teenagers falling in love with music, books, art, and each other, there will be coming of age stories like Elizabeth Beck’s Summer Tour. Hop on summer Phish tour with Sam and his ‘family’ as they travel the country in an RV named Suby Greenberg, learning how to get by, stay high, and navigate the maze of American adolescence.” -Peter Conners, author of Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead

Elizabeth Beck’s debut work of fiction, Summer Tour, released June 2020 has received outstanding reviews. The novel follows a group of kids on Phish Tour Summer ’19. Written by a phan who saw her first show in 1992, this piece of fiction reads like non-fiction, including setlists and details about the actual shows performed by Phish the summer of 2019 culminating in the awesome and awful experience of the Rescue Squad at YEMSG. Reading this novel is the next best thing to going to a show. Available in paperback for $20 and Kindle for $5.55 (of course).