The Oregon Trail Is the Oregon Trail
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The Oregon Trail Is the Oregon Trail

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4.43 of 5 stars 4.43  ·  rating details  ·  123 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Loosely or not so loosely based on the iconic computer game The Oregon Trail, THE OREGON TRAIL IS THE OREGON TRAIL chronicles the journey of a family on their way out West. Along the way, they fight dysentery, a racist Mel Gibson, syphilis, and consumption while learning that letting go is sometimes easier than starting over. Read the book, play the game, and never welcome...more
Paperback, 65 pages
Published January 30th 2012 by Mud Luscious Press
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Cassandra Gillig
seriously batting eyelashes, "O you" and "am i blushing right now" at mud luscious and gregory sherl. age-old trick--very "trout fishing in america"--revamped perfectly to reside in a beautiful, honest place. it's not quite fan fiction and not quite the abstract, experimental "stand-in" that "trout fishing" was. the river is forded on page 1. people get syphilis. great jokes that are all "nostalgia" without being too gimmicky. the stories are very personal vignettes about a sweet, ever evolving...more
Matt
Mar 10, 2012 Matt rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
It's so much easier to give you one of his poems than explain all the brilliance of this collection.

"The Oregon Trail is based on a true story"

This one time we watched the weather.
You were naked & I was naked
& the sound of everything was louder
than the thunder we couldn't see.
You said I love you more than not getting dysentery.
I said Sing this trail to sleep under me
& you did. You sang it cold dead.
At the Kansas River crossing we fed
our oxen to the mouth of the river, slept
under our...more
Kevin
Gone are the pop song references of Sherl's first two books (they're replaced by references to wagons and rivers) and gone are the drug references (for the most part), but these poems move in interesting new ways that seem like they're more fueled by starvation, fatigue, and the fear of dying. Oh, there's still some sex of course.
Kristin
Gregory Sherl's words drip off each page. There's a hunger in this world that can only be fed by his beautiful words. There is a word of his for every piece of loneliness, anxiety and depression that can be felt. This book is the sweater you want to wear when Florida is not acting like Florida outside.
Jim
There are plenty of ways to expire on The Oregon Trail, as the frontiersmen who used the route in the 1840s and anyone who has played the 1970s computer game of the same name can attest. Both the trail and the pioneering computer game that was developed to educate school children about its perils have proved to be maddeningly alluring. So it should come as no surprise that Gregory Sherl’s new collection of poems, The Oregon Trail Is the Oregon Trail, is equally deceptive.

Unlike video games of to...more
Schnaucl
It's a book of poetry which often references The Oregon Trail video game. However, for a book of poetry that's tied to The Oregon Trail video game there is an awful lot of sex. I'd say most of the poems are 50% sex and 50% Oregon Trail the video game.

I wanted to like it more than I did what with The Oregon Trail connection, and there were some clever lines about various things having to do with the game (being limited to 100 lbs. after hunting, fording the river, hiring an Indian guide, etc). Th...more
Robert Vaughan
I could not love this wacky, heartfelt, strange collection any more if I tried (and I have, since I have read it more than just a few times!) All I can say is, you want your own copy of this. And everything else Sherl publishes.
Matthew Salesses
Fantastic. The poems build on each other in wonderful ways. I love that hush that falls on the reader when the rhythm of a poem takes over. I got that here for pages at a time. How much more can you ask?

There's plenty here for the reader who wants to reminisce about The Oregon Trail. But the book is far more playful than that. The Oregon Trail is more than The Oregon Trail, as Sherl knows.
Kerri Anne Stebbins
Not since Cisneros' Loose Woman or Clifton's Blessing the Boats have I wanted to proselytize a book of poetry like I want to proselytize this one.

Sherl is a master storyteller within the short poetic form, and this is without a doubt one of the most original poetry collections I've ever read.

If you've ever died of dysentery this collection is not to be missed. And if you somehow missed the pioneering brilliance that was the original Oregon Trail game, if you let him, Sherl will still sucker-pu...more
Eric
Oct 10, 2013 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Am I going to memorize any of these poems or copy one out to keep in my wallet for inspiration? No, definitely not. But I have a great deal of respect for a poet who could take on such a bizarre Oulipian constraint and still come up with something pretty good. Creating a thematic thread based on a (relatively) ancient educational video game should have failed, but for the most part, Sherl slips his references to oxen, the Kansas River, and bankers from Boston into some insightful, powerful poems...more
Ampersand Books
Reviewed by C.L. Bledsoe at The Ampersand Review:

"The Oregon Trail is the Oregon Trail is a collection of poems narrated by a character who seems to exist in the world of the classic computer game The Oregon Trail, while, simultaneously experiencing various elements of modern culture – it’s as though a player were caught in the game, though it isn’t presented as tritely as that. He, and his family, travel the trail and seem to be caught in a kind of Groundhog’s Day situation, forever redoing the...more
Bonnie
This is definitely a book to keep in your purse, backpack, or pocket for frequent reading. The book follows a speaker who is apparently trapped in a perpetual loop of the computer game Oregon Trail. He and his family face hardships, conquer them, and are sometimes conquered themselves. The book is rich with surprising metaphor, and the speaker's voice is very strong. The poems in this book are, in keeping with Sherl's style, full of sex, love, and the longing for both - topics by which I, for on...more
Meg Tuite
One of the best collections I've read in a long time! Gregory Sherl works magic on words, but more importantly emotions. He gives us truth, vulnerability and the unexpected, always! A treasure! Hope everyone gets a copy of this! I keep for inspiration! Exceptional!
Mark Thomas Stevenson
made me at least a little bit aroused maybe about 9 times.
per poem.
a big squishy warm lovely pillow of language getting all mushed around like a sleeping face.
made me drool.
this isnt a very good review but this book is a very good book.
Jamie Gaughran-Perez
Read this one a bit at a time or in stretches. Give it a couple week and let them sink in or blow by. Just give it a chance... Life, death, disease, sex, and a fuck-ton of Kansas River. Why not?
Neal
I had heard so many good things about this book and they were all true, and there were other good things I hadn't heard. Read this now then ford the river, but watch out for dyssentary and thieves.
Leah
brilliantly conceived, raises deep troubling questions: what pilgrimage cannot be made into a pilgrimage about fucking?

where in the world is carmen sandiego?

solitaire?
Shawnte Orion

Somehow Gregory Sherl was able to turn one of the most primitive slow-paced computer games ever created, into a series of rich lively poems full of humor and emotion.
Dena Rash Guzman
I don't think Sherl even has the faintest clue, honestly, as to what an amazing poet he is. I just hope he doesn't stop making poems like these poems.
Luis Correa
Best read while traveling westward in the vicinity of strangers. Intimate and not long enough.
Cary
I dunno. I read this again this morning while on meds and wasn't impressed.
Nenia Campbell
Jun 27, 2014 Nenia Campbell marked it as lovemeworshipmegimmiethisbook
BASED OFF THE OREGON TRAIL COMPUTER GAME???!?!?!?!!

GIMMIE!
Maureen
This book was so sad and beautiful and funny and good.
Jason Davis
Greater than great. A masterwork.
Hope Dee
Hope Dee marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2014
Unloquacious
Unloquacious marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2014
Thomas
Thomas marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2014
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