Editorial Reviews for this title:
BOOK OF THE YEAR:
The New York Times (Dwight Garner)
Slate (Troy Patterson)
The New York Observer
Books & Culture
Vol. 1 Brooklyn
The Poetry School
The Millions (Emily Keeler)
The debut collection of a poet whose savage, hilarious work has already received extraordinary notice.
Since his poems first began to appear in the pages of The New Yorker and Poetry, there has been a lot of excited talk about the fresh and inventive work of Michael Robbins. Equal parts hip- hop, John Berryman, and capitalism seeking death and not finding it, Robbins's poems are strange, wonderful, wild, and completely unlike anything else being written today. As allusive as the Cantos, as aggressive as a circular saw, this debut collection will offend none but the virtuous.
"Based on these buzzing, flyspecked, fluorescent poems, I'd guess that Mr. Robbins's heart is not lovely but beating a bit arrhythmically; not dark but lighted by a dangling disco ball; not deep but as shallow and alert as a tidal buoy facing down a tsunami. Yet it's a heart crammed full, like a goose's liver, with pagan grace. This man can write."--Dwight Garner, The New York Times
"You don't get the instant satisfaction you might expect from a poet hungrily stalking the moment; Robbins's poems have their own distinctly contemporary appeal: They slowly develop into embarrassing pictures of ourselves. They aren't just shiny and fun, they're also sharp -- which makes them quite dangerous."-- The Boston Globe
"The first important poet whose work can be appreciated only with an Internet connection, Robbins is a lot more than the first 'Google poet.' He is also a significant new poetic voice and, quite possibly, a living poet with a chance of developing a genuine popular following."-- The Weekly Standard
"If later John Ashbery and David McGimpsey have proven that capitalist popular culture is a suitable subject for poetry, Robbins goes a step further and attempts its formal mimesis. And he does it really goddamn well."-- The National Post
"Embrace Michael Robbins as a damned funny poet, but appreciate that he's a damned good craftsman too. Melded to the punch line is the prosody -- a trochee here, a Dickinsonian stanza there, a brush stroke that conjures Mayakovsky, a pie in the face to Basho. The easiest way to say it is this: prepare to be impressed." -- Lisa Jarnot
"These poems are bad for you, the way alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, bacon, carbohydrates, television and the internet are bad for you. Better pick up extra copies for your villa, your chalet, your hutment, your yurt, and your sidewalk grate." -- Jordan Davis, poetry editor of The Nation
"These poems are viciously inventive. Faster than you can rhyme stegosaur/megastore, Robbins code-switches between the English Canon and Top Forty: Nirvana and Blake, The Clash and Yeats, creating a political and social commentary that will make the hair stand on your head." -- Ange Mlinko
"You may notice the cultural references first -- Guns N' Roses, Eric B. & Rakim, Fleetwood Mac, M*A*S*H, Star Wars -- and be tempted to tie Robbins to these anchors. But there are as many contemporary references in Eliot and Pound and Horace as there are in Robbins: carbon-dating isn't what distinguishes these poems. Robbins works in traditional and nontraditional forms that pivot on the beat, which he turns around, seamlessly and ruthlessly. The thread here is a long-distance conversation crammed into the available enjambment, as charged as the pop songs that play beneath the words." -- Sasha Frere-Jones
"From the wild mixture of pop-culture and the English poetic tradition arises the voice -- brave, direct, brilliant, arrogant, unforgettable voice -- of a poet whom Catullus would recognize, whom Mayakovsky would welcome. This is a poetics that whips up the tradition and lashes 'a slap in the face of public taste.' Robbins is unafraid to bring back vulgarity -- that saving, generous, musical vulgarity which abruptly awakens us from our longish sleep-time in America. Yes, Michael Robbins is a rascal. The sort of rascal Francois Villon used to be. He takes no prisoners. His music is brutal -- and also intricate, rigorous, unpredictable. Mothers of America! let your kids read some of this wild, brave, real verse." -- Ilya Kaminsky
From the Back Cover
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