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Conner's Books & Reviews

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Currently reading

The White Tiger
Aravind Adiga
And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks
Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs
Haruki Murakami
The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels by Stephen King
Stephen King, Richard Bachman
The Complete Stories
Franz Kafka
Jay Rubin, Philip Gabriel, Haruki Murakami
The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso
Dante Alighieri, Robin Kirkpatrick, Eric Drooker
The Purgatorio (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Dante Alighieri, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Peter Bondanella, Julia Conaway Bondanella
The Interpretation of Dreams (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Sigmund Freud, A.A. Brill, Daniel T. O'Hara, Gina Masucci MacKenzie


Crush - Richard Siken I took away a star solely because of the edition. This edition changed some of the poems, including Wishbone, which was the first Richard Siken poem I read, so i noticed right away. The changes made were for the worse, it didn't have that initial sense of desperation that made it flow so well before. Also the introduction should have been left out entirely; it's just a person making these broad statements about what they want the poems to all be about and quoting a bunch of lines from the poems we are about to read anyway. It's just wholly unnecessary, especially since there aren't a lot of poems in here in the first place, and just kind of messes up the mood.
Those nitpicks aside, there are some very volatile and excellent poems in here. There are some definite standouts and a few that aren't as strong and break the pacing a bit, but since this book is again very slim, only about 60 pages, it can be read through in one sitting. This seemed intentional, because like all poetry, it's meant to be read more than once.
As other reviewers pointed out, Siken's style isn't for everyone, but I connected with it instantly. The writing, like the cover, is gritty, claustrophobic, and monochromatic. There are lots of recurring images, of roads, teeth, blood, and the boy that is mostly at the center of the whole vision, of a love violent and fearful and desperate.
Before you buy this book you should probably read one or two of Sikens' poems on the internet, then you will know what to expect since it is mostly all written in the same style. As I said, the style seems very divisive, so either you will feel it instantly or you won't connect with it.