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

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  163 Ratings  ·  28 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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Nov 12, 2014 Matt rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry
The past does not exist in a vacuum. What I say re: Sherl now:

Cannot abide.

What I wrote in 2012:
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 getti
Jan 04, 2012 Kristin rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 18, 2012 Kevin rated it really liked it
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.
Robert Vaughan
Jan 17, 2016 Robert Vaughan rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 18, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: small-press, 2012
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
Jan 04, 2013 Schnaucl rated it liked it
Shelves: library, poetry, read_2013
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
Matthew Salesses
Feb 03, 2012 Matthew Salesses rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 01, 2012 Bonnie rated it it was amazing
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
Ampersand Books
Oct 04, 2012 Ampersand Books rated it really liked it
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
Oct 10, 2013 Eric rated it really liked it
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
Mar 04, 2015 Ariadne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
If you didn't play the iconic computer game The Oregon Trail in your youth the charm of this book will be lost on you. Each poem uses the imagery from the classic game to describe various feelings and situations, some to better effect than others. Loved ones perish of dysentery while green oxen look on by the riverbank. Because of this unifying theme there is a repetition throughout the book, which almost makes it read like one long heartbroken fever dream. While I wasn't always moved by these p ...more
Meg Tuite
Jun 07, 2012 Meg Tuite rated it it was amazing
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!
Jul 07, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
I was afraid this was going to be gimmicky and rely on novelty and pure nostalgia. It was refreshing that the narrative arc underlying the collection had so much heart. A little repetitive at times, but overall wonderful.
Mark Thomas Stevenson
Apr 13, 2012 Mark Thomas Stevenson rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 10, 2013 Leah rated it really liked it
brilliantly conceived, raises deep troubling questions: what pilgrimage cannot be made into a pilgrimage about fucking?

where in the world is carmen sandiego?

Jamie Gaughran-Perez
Mar 08, 2012 Jamie Gaughran-Perez rated it really liked it
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?
Apr 06, 2013 Neal rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, 2013
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.
Dena Guzman
Jul 31, 2012 Dena Guzman rated it it was amazing
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.
Shawnte Orion
Sep 02, 2012 Shawnte Orion rated it it was amazing

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.
Ashley Taylor
Ashley Taylor rated it it was amazing
Dec 11, 2016
Kat Dixon
Kat Dixon rated it did not like it
Sep 03, 2014
J. Bradley
J. Bradley rated it it was amazing
Feb 16, 2012
Alexander Allison
Alexander Allison rated it it was amazing
Feb 18, 2013
Samantha Siciliano
Samantha Siciliano rated it really liked it
Aug 29, 2012
Shinji Moon
Shinji Moon rated it it was amazing
May 21, 2012
Jamil rated it it was ok
Mar 16, 2013
Tom rated it it was amazing
Mar 08, 2012
April rated it did not like it
Jan 11, 2015
Lucy rated it it was amazing
Feb 03, 2013
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Gregory Sherl is a novelist and poet. His debut novel, The Future for Curious People, will be released by Algonquin Books on September 2nd, 2014. It has been translated into five languages.

He is also the author of three poetry collections, including The Oregon Trail is the Oregon Trail, shortlisted for the 2012 Believer Poetry Award and a semifinalist for Best Poetry in the 2012 Goodreads Choice A
More about Gregory Sherl...

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