Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Apocalyptic Swing” as Want to Read:
Apocalyptic Swing
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Apocalyptic Swing

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  114 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Rarely has a first book of poems been more exalted than Gabrielle Calvocoressi’s The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, which the Times Literary Supplement called “an excoriation of present-day America by a new and lethal commentator.” Now, in this extraordinary follow-up, Calvocoressi continues her mission to document the particular hardships of derelict American small towns ...more
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by Persea
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Apocalyptic Swing, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Apocalyptic Swing

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
John Pappas
Jul 27, 2011 John Pappas rated it it was amazing
Brutal, noir-ish poetry about the oppression of or infringement of one body upon another, or one body politic upon another. Boxing, bombings, and small-town blues permeate this collection from Gabrielle Calvocoressi author of the award-winning collection The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart. Captivatingly dark, and disturbingly sexual, without the incisive depth of the poem-cycles of her earlier work, but still solid, like a punch from a middle-weight, Calvocoressi delivers muscular lines like “Yo ...more
Maria Nazos
Jan 09, 2012 Maria Nazos rated it really liked it
I was very impressed at the artful way in which Calvocoressi captures Americana. She accomplishes this feat by employing various personas, from concerned mothers to vertically-challenged champion boxers. The end result is a landscape that is stripped of irony, yet not without melancholy; beautiful yet not overly-romanticized; fraught with sentiment yet without a hint of sentimentality. She conveys images of hate crimes, from Matthew Shephard, the young gay man who was the victim of a ruthless ha ...more
Jamie Barkin
Nov 30, 2012 Jamie Barkin rated it it was amazing
This poetry collection captures a nostalgic, yet brutish side of the All-American classics. Many poems are set in the Midwest, or centralized by a particularly "American" city. Calvocoressi tells the story of so many through these powerfully fluid poems. "Acknowledgement, 1964" is my personal favorite. I had the privilege of hearing her read from this collection, and she explained it was a piece for her father. To this day I can hear her reading aloud the lines of "Where's that girl you married? ...more
Patricia Murphy
Feb 03, 2014 Patricia Murphy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I think “Pantoum Evangel: Billy Sunday” is one of the best pantoums I have ever read. So surprising, and truly crafted so that the form adds meaning. I really love the syntax of the poems in this collection. We get a lot of deconstruction of the sentence. I also really love the use of form in the book--we go seamlessly between list poems and sonnets--all highlighting the most delicate images.

Some of my favorite moments:

“Body” doesn’t do
your body justice.

“It will feel better than any floor
Jason Gilbert
Dec 06, 2013 Jason Gilbert rated it really liked it
This is immediate, visceral poetry. Kind of like a poetry companion to Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska or a Drive-By Truckers album. Calvocoressi uses typically American hang-ups ( sports, Christianity, sexuality, violence) to create poignant, elliptical poems of the lives of small town America.

My favorites are "Pantoum Evangel: Billy Sunday" which juxtaposes sexuality and evangelism, and "Training Camp: Deer Lake, PA". The latter is a paean to middle America, travelogue, and a moving description
Apr 01, 2013 Heather rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Fantastic. If you're looking for a poetry volume to celebrate National Poetry Month, go for this. Calvocoressi's often brief lines punch you. She addresses suicide, racial violence, sex, psychological injury but in the subtlest of ways and alongside pure joy at the moments of heroism in everyday life.
Sep 29, 2011 H added it
Shelves: poetry-americas
". . . there's a sound
you make when you hit and you hit and you're
nothing but motion. It's not like sounds
you make with your wife or a girl, it's rougher

and darker and sometimes it feels better
and after you feel so relaxed.

. . . . . . . . .

. . . And I'd let the guy do it, let him
get to where he'd want me to hold him
up for a bit."

-Blues for Ruby Goldstein
Jul 12, 2015 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous nostalgic queer Americana poems. Boxing, churches, pickup trucks, girls, stickball, pills, cookouts, prayer. A touch of Richard Siken, a touch of Larkin, but utterly distinctive. I love this.
Broadsided Press -
A poem by Gabrielle Calvocoressi from this book was Broadsided August 1, 2010. Check it out at
Aug 11, 2009 Kaya rated it really liked it
3 1/2 stars? Can I do that? I'll have a review of this up at The Fanzine sometime soon (
Dec 15, 2016 Nancy rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2016
The poems themselves were good, but as how the collection is organized and worked as a whole, I felt was a bit lacking or I didn't fully understand how the sections were broken. The speaker sometimes seemed like a female wanting to be male, sometimes the voice was a male boxer, and changes from poem to poem, so I found the voice a bit difficult to follow. Also the first poem brings up the mother as not understanding the "you," and the "you" seems almost to be addressing the self/poet. I expected ...more
Sep 02, 2009 Rangi rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any lover of poetry
Calvocoressi's work is rooted firmly in America. These thirty precise poems remind us of the body’s holiness & its necessity. They speak of love: sometimes desperate, sometimes bloody – always hard-won & worth its cost.

Apocalyptic Swing is a mesmerizing & necessary respite from the four walls of our lives. Reading it will inspire you to do everything you do (sing, love, breathe etc.), better.
Sep 18, 2012 Aundrea rated it liked it
The theme of small town life hits home in kind of the wrong way for me, but if I were to reread it in a year or two I think I could appreciate it better. I enjoyed many of the poems anyway. I don't anything about boxing so I had to look up a lot of the references.
Colin Moon
Mar 22, 2014 Colin Moon rated it really liked it
A swirl of sex, violence, music, and faith; this is one I'm going to read and reread.
Jul 30, 2015 Hannah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion, queer
All my queer Southern Catholic feelings hammered into brutal, brassy poetry.
Christina Rau
Jan 07, 2012 Christina Rau rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Small town America. True grit boxer. Intricate diction and perfected rhythms, this collection is very successful in creating a tone of hope and a motif of struggle.
Laura A. Warman
Jun 14, 2011 Laura A. Warman rated it it was amazing
A really fascinating book of poetry that deals with small towns, gender, and love (in new ways).
Oct 05, 2009 Jeremy rated it it was amazing
Breathtaking, jawdropping, tearjerking poetry from a contemporary master.
Artifice Magazine
Jan 26, 2010 Artifice Magazine rated it really liked it
Shelves: tadd, rebekah
Lesley Valdes
Lesley Valdes rated it really liked it
Nov 29, 2014
Carol Peters
Carol Peters rated it really liked it
Oct 16, 2016
Kathy rated it really liked it
Nov 03, 2014
Lindsay rated it it was amazing
May 11, 2016
PEN Center USA
PEN Center USA rated it it was amazing
May 18, 2011
Emily rated it it was amazing
Dec 05, 2012
Tonnie Bongiovi
Tonnie Bongiovi rated it liked it
Aug 05, 2010
Susan Wood
Susan Wood rated it it was amazing
Nov 01, 2016
Darien rated it really liked it
Feb 13, 2016
Priscilla rated it liked it
Jul 30, 2011
Adam rated it liked it
Oct 18, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Share This Book