Review & Blog Tour: Alien vs. Predator

Alien vs. Predator

Alien vs. Predator
By Michael Robbins
(Penguin (Non-Classics), Paperback, 9780143120353, March 2012, 88pp.)

The Short of It:

Sharp, edgy and bold.

The Rest of It:

I am not a regular reader of poetry.  I read poetry in college and every now and then, I’ll come across a poem that speaks to me, but once again, just to be clear… I am not a reader of poetry.  I often don’t know how to read them out loud, or on paper so what I look for, is something different from what I experience on a daily basis. I want to be disturbed (yes) a little bit and forced to think. I want to be shocked, but not put off and there is a fine line between shocking and disgusting when it comes to poetry.

When I first read Alien vs. Predator,  I felt assaulted and vaguely dirty. As if I had been taken advantage of and tossed to the curb.  I wasn’t sure what to think! I put it aside for a little while. That’s when I noticed that my mind kept going back to it, whether I wanted it to or not. The visceral reaction that I’d first had, morphed into a vague curiosity and of course, that led me to pick it up again. Why, you ask?

National Poetry Month - Blog Tour
I have a soft-spot for references to pop-culture and this collection is chock full of them. Kool-Aid, Amber Alerts, Care Bears, Michael J. Fox, Soylent Green (my personal fave) and the list goes on. The poems themselves are almost written in a stream of consciousness style which makes it impossible to predict which direction he’ll take. Sometimes they are dark and once in a while, they are funny. Although, I do have to admit that most of them seem a bit angry to me. Not violent, just angry, pissed-off at the world in some way but then right when they begin to get too dark, he throws in something to surprise you, like calling himself an asshole. I chuckled over that one.

This collection may not be for everyone. It’s certainly not for the reader who is looking for poems about beautiful gardens, paths not taken and white, puffy clouds of happiness but there is something here for a reader who is looking for more. More substance, more food for thought.

Check out this video of the author, reading one of my faves out of the collection, Material Girl. It’s a good representation of light and dark and gives you an idea of what you can expect from the collection itself. His reading begins right around the 1:00 minute mark.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via Net Galley.
Read for: National Poetry Month Blog Tour over at Savvy Verse & Wit
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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21 thoughts on “Review & Blog Tour: Alien vs. Predator”

  1. Hurrah! At least you’re willing to read poetry even if you don’t do it regularly! This sounds like a collection I should definitely check out. Thanks for joining the tour

  2. I’m not a reader of poetry either…I have no idea what to do with it. But I’m trying it and it isn’t so bad. See THIS is probably the type of poetry I need to read. I am in the middle of a collection of works by Ethan Coen, and that too is not your mother’s poetry. Some of it is downright rude (and funny).

  3. I don’t think that this collection is for me, but I did watch the video, and it seems that a lot of people intetpreted his work as humorous, which does intrigue me a little. Very interesting review today, Ti! It was interesting to hear what you had to say about this one, and I do agree that it does indeed sound dark!

    1. To be honest with you Heather, I’m glad that the audience saw the humor because as dark and twisted as some of these poems are, I found myself laughing numerous times. I worried that I was sick and twisted somehow in the head, but gee…if others laugh too then I must be normal. LOL.

  4. I’m not a reader of poetry either, but this whole month of reading about different styles and really letting myself go there has been an enlightening experience!

  5. Well, I’m all for food for thought and I love pop culture refrences but stream of consciousness makes me nutty and I’m not sure about reading a bunch of angry poems. That being said your review definitely peaks my interest.

  6. I’ll pass on this one. I think the pop references would appeal to me the most. And as far as Soylent Green goes, it’s just one more of those beloved childhood films that as an adult I have to ask “What were my parents thinking letting me watch that at such a young age?”

  7. Do you think, Ti, that the poems would be appealing for someone who doesn’t live in the USA, and thus may not be familiar with all the cultural references?

    1. Excellent question. I think some of the dark humor would be lost if the references were not familiar to you. It would still be readable, but different.

  8. I knew I was missing things back in April! This is an interesting review, from the perspective of someone who wasn’t as excited by all the references to other poems. I read through some reviews (like the Paris Review one I link to) from Europeans who commented on how very American this collection seems to them.

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