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?
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.