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Some Ether

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,313 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
Winner of a "Discovery"/The Nation Award
Winner of the 1999 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry

Some Ether is one of the more remarkable debut collections of poetry to appear in America in recent memory. As Mark Doty has noted, "these poems are more than testimony; in lyrics of ringing clarity and strange precision, Flynn conjures a will to survive, the buoyant motion towar
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Paperback, 104 pages
Published May 1st 2000 by Graywolf Press
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(showing 1-30 of 2,628)
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Nathaniel
Mar 12, 2008 Nathaniel rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry
I went out on a limb and bought a book of poetry based on the goodreads star rating of someone I don't know who seemed to have decent taste in obscure literature. Plus, I am trying to make an effort to read living poets who write in English.

Of Flynn's first four poems, three were about suicide, two referenced guns, two referenced painkillers (by brand name) and one mentions cutting himself. It only got worse from there. Blah blah "my father is . . . a bottle wrapped in a paperbag" blah blah "she
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graham
Apr 25, 2008 graham rated it it was amazing
This review is incomplete because I need to read Some Ether again. This is not only the first book of poetry, but the first book period that I've ever wanted to re-read as soon as I finished it. Okay: want is slightly misleading. I feel I need to read it again, just to fully understand and appreciate the whole thing.

But, as far as any sort of guiding recommendation, here's what I can offer: not for the faint of heart. Sorry, that's all I've got. More later.
Jessica
Jul 08, 2010 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Erin for recommending this book to me. Startling imagery. Unflinching vision.
Elizabeth Holt
Feb 28, 2015 Elizabeth Holt rated it it was ok
Some Ether is a downer. Normally, I am one to cling to depressing topics as a form of art and expression; you always get the best reaction from an audience that way. However, when it comes to Some Ether I don’t feel anything. I could never connect to his words because it felt as though he, himself didn't understand them. The book itself deals with suicide, death, loss of human contact and the inability to move on. It is split into four sections that focus on his mother, before and after her suic ...more
Laurel L. Perez
Dec 09, 2014 Laurel L. Perez rated it it was amazing
Many do not know that Nick Flynn is a poet, in fact, I had no idea when I met him a couple years ago. Some reviewers on Goodreads have criticized Flynn for his candidness about his life, and his parents (which most know a little about from his other work, or from the film "Being Flynn". One reviewer even ranted that it was a "poor me" collection of poems about suicide, schizophrenia, and self harm. I think these reviewers know little about poetry, and quite possible missed the point of this coll ...more
Tai Harris
Nov 15, 2011 Tai Harris rated it it was amazing
Shelves:
Some Ether by Nick Flynn. Graywolf Press. May 2000.

“Some Ether” written by Nick Flynn is a collection of dark poems that seeks to revisit the tragedies of his childhood. The speaker in each poem seeks deliverance as he is desperate to find love, understanding and closure to surpass the demons that haunt him. It is evident that Flynn has grown from these life-changing experiences, never allowing to be submerged into self destruction.

He uses words as a force to work though dealing with his mother
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Valerie
Jul 14, 2011 Valerie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, male-writer
I loved Flynn's poetry book about bees: Blind Huber. It was gorgeous, and didn't exhaust the subject, which often happens with poetry books that have just one topic.

Some Ether is also fantastic. I read some of the poems from this book when it first came out because some of them were on Poetry Daily. I don't think they featured the best poems. I think the best poems in this book are the darker ones.

Most of the poems in this book are about life with his mother, who committed suicide when he was yo
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Curtis
Jun 21, 2009 Curtis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Some Ether is Nick Flynn's debut collection of poetry, winner of the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award (1999), and an astounding work of beauty wrapped in a ball of pain.

Flynn takes us on a journey through his childhood- divorce parents, a troubled mother, strange men, and his mother's suicide. Pretty dark stuff, but written with a sense of enlightenment. The way he recalls these memories is so poetic and honest, it's what I hope to achieve every time I write but I'm nowhere near as graceful.

After I rea
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kc
Jul 23, 2008 kc rated it it was amazing
this book gets better with second and third readings, and it succeeds because he's restrained as he's writing about these two people who have failed him as parents. he never has to bemoan the fact that they're bad parents, only has to show the way their behavior has shaped his emotional experience and there you have it.

poems in the first section cluster around living with his depressed and erratic mother before her suicide, and the following section shows him constructing a life in her absence.
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Joseph
Aug 17, 2015 Joseph rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grit-lit
I really enjoyed Flynn's "another bullshit night in suck city: A memoir" and naturally assumed that sense and style of prose would follow henceforth in a book of poetry. For the most part, Flynn stuck to his guns writing directly from his guts and heart no matter the outcome. As with most poetry, the words are just a guideline, the reader creates the imagery and meaning from the words in front of them.

The meaning I got from at least 80% of the poems in this book, was complete and on uncontrollab
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D'Anne
Feb 29, 2008 D'Anne rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I wanted to really, really love this book. I really did. It's a good book, don't get me wrong. But it's really front loaded for me. The middle sections just didn't have the same power as the beginning for me. If the book was only the first section and a scattering of the other poems, I would have given it five stars, easy. Who knows, maybe I'll go back to it years from now and think, "How foolish I was then."
Jennn
Sep 09, 2008 Jennn rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
It was good, but wasn't astounding. There weren't many that shook me to the core. That's not to say that it wasn't good, nor to deter other people. But it wasn't what I wasn't looking for.

The ones I really liked were: bag of mice, radio thin air, sudden, emptying town, salt, residence, fugue, and some ether. It was hard finding individual lines since most of the poems had a style where the ending would echo the beginning and make more sense at that time, but the lines I took away were:

"If it had
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Colin McKay Miller
Jan 22, 2010 Colin McKay Miller rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I’m very black and white when it comes to poetry. There’s no critical depth, no analysis of form. Either I like it or I don’t.

I like Nick Flynn’s Some Ether. Divided into four sections, each one focuses (mostly) on a key subject area. Section I: ‘The Visible Woman’ focuses on Flynn’s mother—childhood memories, her various boyfriends, and her suicide. Section III: ‘Devil Theory’ focuses on Flynn’s wayward father—a topic that is far better covered in his first memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Su
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Bryn Donovan
Feb 01, 2013 Bryn Donovan rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
This particular collection is not my kind of thing, but it was a first book published more than a decade ago, and there were enough good images and lines that I would be interested in reading more recent work by the poet.

The book is certainly tight thematically. Most of it deals with the suicide of Flynn's mother, his mostly absent father, his generally messed up childhood, and the fallout from it. He's been through a lot of shit. Personally, I have a strong bias against narrative poetry that co
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A.
Apr 08, 2014 A. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
It's hard to read these autobiographical poems and not think of Julianne Moore and Robert Deniro in the roles of Flynn's suicidal mother and mentally unstable father.

I love the cadence and the images that Flynn brings to these poems. The best of them are hypnotic. I especially liked the first section which dwells on his mother. He effortlessly seems to slip into her voice in a few poems.
Evin Hughes
May 13, 2013 Evin Hughes rated it really liked it
This one has been in my Amazon wishlist for quite some time, and it was definitely worth the wait. I didn’t get the full impact for I already knew Flynn’s story from his book “The Ticking Is The Bomb” and the film about his life “Being Flynn“—I recommend both—but it didn’t take anything away from his powerful words. I found the poem in which he personifies his mother very revealing.

As fate would have it I caught the tail end of an old, back-when-I-was-a-kid cartoon. Yosemite Sam is cajoled off a
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D
Sep 20, 2015 D rated it liked it
I feel like this should be more of a 2 star (it was ok) rating but some moments were so very 5 star that I'm going with 3 stars.
Maggie
Feb 18, 2009 Maggie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-09, poetry
A dark, beautiful debut collection in which Flynn comes to face many of the ghosts of his past--his dead mother, his homeless father, a wayward version of himself trying desperately to love but seeming to screw up along the way. While he never quite reaches redemption, by the end the speaker in many of these poems at least can imagine the possibility of it, which is a huge step.

Prior to reading this, I read Flynn's memoir Another Bullshit Night In Suck City. While I preferred this book, I feel l
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Dana Jerman
Jan 13, 2015 Dana Jerman rated it really liked it
Well haunted and vivid and true. There is no obstacle to your absorbtion of this work but your own heart.
Amy Bermudez
Jan 17, 2015 Amy Bermudez rated it liked it
Not bad, but it doesn't stand up (for me) having just read Here, Bullet.
Rachel Morgan
Feb 04, 2014 Rachel Morgan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
"Bag of Mice," "Her Smoke (her trick)," "Some Ether"
Mobill76
These are very sensitive subjects. It's like watching surgery. There were no surprises here. If you want life and death, it's here. If you want pain and suffering, it's here. Flynn's a fine poet. He writes beautifully, There are some great images. He has this really soft touch that just doesn't prepare me for his cuts - the drugs, the sex. It feels like watching accidents on the tv news. I like my poetry a little more analytical. I found about half these poems to be genuinely memorable images. T ...more
Victoria Chow
Nov 03, 2012 Victoria Chow rated it liked it
This was my first time reading any of Nick Flynn's poetry, and I hate to admit that I was disappointed. I wonder how such a beautiful, wonderful memoirist, whose prose is so poetic, can have poetry that doesn't interest me at all. I don't know too much about the form, but I've read poetry that I've loved, and this wasn't it. I love Nick Flynn to death, and this doesn't make me love him any less, but I'm sad that I can't enjoy his poetry the same way I enjoy his prose. The most memorable, for me, ...more
Allison
Sep 17, 2008 Allison rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: poetry
Nick Flynn's first published book. It's just incredible, refreshing, heartbreaking, and inspiring. I've probably read it dozens of times and never get bored. His voice is just the right combo of intense and reflective. He also achieves this remarkable balance between commmenting on a rather insane childhood without letting it totally define who is his, or allow it to become a pity party. It's like if Sharon Olds could let go of her bitterness and just take it all in from a different vantage poin ...more
Amy
Jan 07, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it
Just read it!
Sarah Sammis
Sep 22, 2008 Sarah Sammis rated it liked it
Shelves: released
Some Ether was Nick Flynn's first book of poetry. It was published in 2000 by Graywolf Press. His current collection is called Blind Huber.

The poems in Some Ether were his way of working through his mother's suicide when he was 22. Although none of the poems are especially graphic, they are all breath taking and emotionally raw.

Many of the poems draw on pop culture from Flynn's childhood and early adulthood. These oddly upbeat phrases counterpoint the heart break of the suicide played out again
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Leanna
Sep 12, 2009 Leanna rated it it was ok
In the confessional mode, about the author's mother's suicide, scenes from childhood, scenes from relationships.

Flynn picks great epigrams ("It is a joy to be hidden / but disaster not to be found"). However, I'm not a huge fan of the confessional style, in general, and this book, although it had some moving lines, is really just not my type.

On a random note--why do so many poets nowadays choose "&" instead of "and"? It's a stylistic choice I find fussy and therefore annoying. Grump, grump.
Olivia
Apr 02, 2007 Olivia rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I first encountered Nick Flynn's work at a reading I attended for extra credit. I left speechless - I wanted to tell everyone how exquisite, thoughtful, deliberate, melodical Flynn's words were, but I felt there was no way I could do his poems justice. Instead, I bought two copies of "Some Ether" - one for me to keep, the other to thrust into the hands of anyone and everyone who would accept.
Celeste
Feb 20, 2012 Celeste rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
More like 3 1/2. I don't know how much Flynn obsesses over his mother and father in other books, but these poems felt topically v. one-note, though many of them were incredibly beautiful. As a collection the tonal range just isn't there. I found that I "got" many of the poems completely on my first read, which, for me, is unsatisfying. Still, I'd like to read more of his work.
Farren
Mar 09, 2008 Farren rated it liked it
Probably soured by reading his memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, first. Confessional and transcendent, but all I can think of the whole way through is -- wait, so this is his mom's second husband Kevin, right? Wonder why he's named John in the poem. Blind Huber, his second volume, was an altogether different endeavor. This is a book ripped directly from the poet's guts.
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Nick Flynn is an American poet, memoirist, and playwright.

His most recent book is The Ticking Is The Bomb, a memoir about awaiting his first child while simultaneously learning and fighting against American torture during the Iraq War.
Flynn's had written one play, Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins. His most famous book is a memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. He has publi
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“I know cigarettes can kill & wonder why she wants to die.” 18 likes
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