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Saint Friend

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  70 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Saint Friend is that rare book that speaks in the voice of a generation. The voice comes from an acclaimed young poet who, after working years in obscurity, was fêted with the prestigious Walt Whitman Award for his first collection. This, his second book, is a freewheeling explosion of celebrations, elegies, narratives, psychologically raw persona pieces (one in the voice ...more
Hardcover, 65 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by McSweeney's
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Erica Wright
Jun 25, 2014 Erica Wright rated it it was amazing
These poems take their time, letting ideas unfold and collapse (or vice versa). There’s a persistence that reminds me of George Oppen’s ON BEING NUMEROUS. At a few points in the long poem “Near Real-Time,” Adamshick seems to speak for a collective on the passing of time, the approaching of death: “It’s what we don’t / have words for / that grows lonely within us.” And so the poet tries to give us the words.
Sep 07, 2014 Kim rated it it was amazing
It's hard to come up with the right words to describe this slim volume of poetry, but the best I've got is: delightfully bizarre. The poems start off seeming almost comical, until you get to the bit where you find tears streaming down your face because something has hit you right in the heart. These are poems that seem meant to be read aloud, I don't think they would have the punch they have just reading them silently on a page. Beautiful and odd.
Jennifer Huang
Mar 21, 2016 Jennifer Huang rated it it was amazing
"In the cab, / on the way, I saw what was real and humane / in front of a pub: a bicycle leaning / against a thin trunk, lights strung in trees / reflected in show windows."
Oct 01, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it
I admit I flew through some of the longer poems in this volume until nearly finishing it and coming to "Everything That Happens Can Be Called Aging." This poem really struck me--it is brimming with the desire to live! It reminds me of my 88-year-old mother who never tires of life and enjoys EVERYTHING. So, then I went back to the beginning and lingered over and studied the longer poems, "Layover," "Pacific," and "Near Real-Time."

Longing and loss are the twin pillars that hold up "Layover." Its o
David Sam
Nov 16, 2014 David Sam rated it it was amazing
This small collection is one of the finest I have read from a contemporary poet. Carl Adamshick writes with simple but supple grace and gives voices to others including Amelia Earhart. The poem "Layover" disguises craft under an illusion of stream of consciousness. But if you reread, it is hard to imagine a different order to the words. Poems abound in wonderful lines, a few of which I quote a here:

"...the moon laying its light on men

to their immediate selves"


"It is the solace of a s
Jan 11, 2016 kirsten rated it it was amazing
two great bits of poetry -
My father was abandoned,
died in debt.

When I think of him
it is with pity, the emotion

a parent most fears.

I've always seen the world as numbers,
buildings and trees as factors,
math as a language better suited for explaining
how things work
than the formula of grammar.
Sep 27, 2014 Hans rated it really liked it
The 8th volume in the McSweeney's Poetry series features a short volume of mostly longer poems. Some beautiful work here. I consumed most of the volume over a couple of BART commutes, riding the train with Amelia Earhart and others.
Apr 12, 2016 Robin rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
There's something very quietly vulnerable about this piece, something that has carried over from Adamshick's first work. I love the weaving of historical, historical fiction, and personal in these pieces, the warping of personas and ideas, of lives and conflicts and meditations.
Oct 08, 2014 Jared rated it really liked it
By virtue of the fact that you read lots of poems, you read mostly bad poems. Eventually your poetry reading habit starts to wane; and then you read Saint Friend.
Jan 13, 2016 Lara rated it really liked it
Favorites include "Everything that Happens Can Be Called Aging," "Happy Birthday," and "Pacific," which is written in the voice of Amelia Earhart.
Tomas Ramanauskas
Apr 10, 2016 Tomas Ramanauskas rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
"You're not an age / but a distance from your birth" is worth reading the book alone and there are quite a few of these precious observations in Adamshick's book. Tiny but with a heart.
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Carl Adamshick is an American poet. He received the 2010 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets and his work has been published in Harvard Review, American Poetry Review, Tin House, The Missouri Review and Narrative.
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