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4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  127 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
A collection examining America's loss of innocence, the poems in this title range from the horrific flight of a World War II pilot to the World Trade Center attack, from the death of JFK Jr to the poet's own bastard birth.
Hardcover, 123 pages
Published May 20th 2003 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published April 2003)
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Jan 07, 2012 Keith rated it it was ok
If you’re in the mood to sip some caffeine-free chamomile tea and curl up on the sofa with a book of inspiring, soothing poetry, avoid Ai’s book of poems, Dread, at all cost.

At 123 pages, this short book is a tour de force of human misery. It has poems about 9/11, a husband killing a wife, a sibling killing another sibling, a child killing his father (to mention just some of the many murders), incest, alcoholism, psychoses, an attempted suicide, an unwanted pregnancy, spousal abuse, marital che
May 01, 2007 k.wing rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(technically 3.5 stars, but I like to round up :)

I had a fun time reading Ai's poems (bet you're not going to see that comment a lot on the other reviews...) because of her style and choice of subject matter. While her style is light, sometimes rhyming, free style, her subject matter is heavy and matted, and usually told much like a story. I sincerely enjoyed almost every poem and was effected by almost every poem.

I am a little confused at the title of this collection of work, and maybe that's
Feb 09, 2012 Emmet rated it liked it
Had to read quite a few of the entries in this book more than once; okay, it IS poetry, after all. Ai definitely likes to write challenging pieces--not just in content or theme, but in structure as well. She seems to be operating from the less is more idea. However, the reason I can't recommend it fully is that one of the poems I just couldn't make sense out of, after multiple reads. Dense and challenging poetry is okay by me, but when it's so dense or challenging I can't cut through it to arriv ...more
Jul 07, 2009 John rated it really liked it
Wow. Ai writes poems like she's punching something. It's a visceral experience, reading them. She writes about lots of awful things: murder, loss of innocence, various forms of brutality. And she uses the first-person narrative approach effectively, putting the reader right into the story. This allows her to dig deeply into the psychology of each poem. She's a mother, a female cop, a daughter, a psychic male detective. Strong writing, plenty of variety, great poems.
Carly Trask-Kuchta
Jul 13, 2013 Carly Trask-Kuchta rated it it was amazing
A haunting, confusing, and fascinating portrayal of trauma, mainly in childhood, through various perspectives. It was a lot to chew on, but beautifully written. I found myself savoring the book, but also being disgusted by its honesty and tragedy and picture of trauma. I loved it wholly and completely, and will need to continue to digest it for a few days.
Apr 07, 2008 Paula rated it really liked it
Complex and deep. Very depressing, though (i.e., don't read it at bedtime), which the title, I suppose, should already warn. Reminiscent of Robert Browning to me, in that the poems are long and narrative, tell a story, and usually lead in an unexpected direction. Common themes include 9/11, interracial relations, broken homes, and disturbing childhood memories.
Sarah Schantz
Oct 20, 2016 Sarah Schantz rated it it was amazing
I think I will need to read this collection at least ten more times before I can figure out what I need to say about these poems. I do think this book is important to my thesis work involving "Little Red Riding Hood" and her evolution from prey to predator. For now I will use one word to describe this brilliant book: Unflinching.
Jul 07, 2010 Liam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Read in June 2010, the Summer of Poetry. Surprised at this because I bought it over Christmas in Scranton at that used bookstore.
May 27, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2016
These poems cut straight to the heart; as far as dramatic monologues go, they are far more accessible than Browning and much more direct.
Jan 02, 2008 Cassandra rated it really liked it
these poems read like beautiful prose but are still tight in form.
Sep 19, 2016 Valerie rated it really liked it
Ai writes the darkest books in the world.
May 02, 2013 Jan rated it liked it
I liked the accessibility of Ai's dramatic monologues. I felt, though, that her obsession with the dark was somewhat sensational, and her treatment of it a little heavy-handed.
Jul 20, 2008 Miho rated it it was amazing
poetry that stings and leaves an open wound on your compassion. this is the kind of exploration into pain that truly liberates. it is not easy to read, but very important to experience.
Aug 12, 2012 Malik rated it it was amazing
Heather Derr-Smith
Heather Derr-Smith rated it it was amazing
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Ai is a poet who has been said to be a mixture of Japanese, Choctaw-Chickasaw, Black, Irish, Southern Cheyenne, and Comanche. Her birth name was Florence Anthony but she changed her name to "Ai" which means love in Japanese.

Her poems have dark themes to them and contain violence, rape, and other subjects that aren't considered appropriate. She often writes from the antagonist point of view and has
More about Ai...

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