When I first read Blood Sugar I was fifteen or sixteen years old and my exposure to the subjects covered within it was extremely limited. This collect...moreWhen I first read Blood Sugar I was fifteen or sixteen years old and my exposure to the subjects covered within it was extremely limited. This collection of poetry made a strong, positive impression upon me simply because I was unfamiliar with other poetry about topics such as eating disorders and Matthew Shepard. However, reading Blood Sugar at age twenty-two left me feeling embarrassed for having previously rated it so high. I'm now aware that angry, feminist poets aren't as rare as I once believed--I was raised in the Bible Belt so the misconception is slightly understandable--and most of them write with far more skill than exhibited in Blood Sugar.
I'm the first person to rate or review this book. At this point I don't have anything to offer comparison because it is the first of its kind I have r...moreI'm the first person to rate or review this book. At this point I don't have anything to offer comparison because it is the first of its kind I have read, and perhaps, comparison would be the best method of review for a compilation that is intended for such a purpose as this one: to aid those in mourning and to offer quotations that may be used at funeral and memorial services, or which might simply serve as a reminder that one is not alone in grieving.
As far as presentation is concerned, the book does an excellent, tasteful job by using simple illustrations of flowers on every few pages. The manner of organization was helpful, and made sense, complete with an index as well as a "recommended reading" selection which specifies which poems/passages may be particularly helpful to those suffering from a specific loss (such as the loss of a mother, father, sibling, friend, etc.). In addition, there is a rather thoughtful introduction and a brief explanation before each chapter. I was particularly grateful that most of the Psalms and religious poems were given a chapter of their own, because it allowed me to easily skim/skip them. While I respect the comfort religious texts offer to some, I have no personal appreciation of them.
The selections as a whole are varied, and some are questionable. I don't see much benefit in some of the more outdated passages that were very specific works of mourning for famous people or literary characters. I prefer quotations to which more people can easily relate, and believe those should comprise the majority of such a book. There were quite a few poems in particular that did not seem at all relevant to death or grieving, and these prevent me from rating the book higher. The choices were very hit-or-miss, but I suppose that varied reactions are a given; people will feel differently depending upon their religious beliefs, personal reading preferences, and the nature of their loss.
Perhaps after reading more books with the same purpose, I will adjust my rating and opinion so that it is more helpful.(less)
To be honest, I wouldn't have bought this book if I'd known of the existence of Vampire Haiku because it diminishes the novelty of Zombie Haiku, and r...moreTo be honest, I wouldn't have bought this book if I'd known of the existence of Vampire Haiku because it diminishes the novelty of Zombie Haiku, and really, that's the book's biggest appeal. I didn't buy Zombie Haiku because I was expecting amazing writing; I bought it because it took something I like (zombies) and placed it into a form of writing I never would have thought to use. Other than being taken by the idea of it, the book itself isn't all that extraordinary so seeing the same concept applied to another subject leaves me feeling disenchanted and disinterested. Really I'm just a nitpicking, complaining bitch. The book still makes a thoughtful gift for the zombie-obsessed. (less)
I find Bukowski's poetry to be very hit-or-miss. Out of over 300 pages, there were approximately three poems that I liked in their entirety. Otherwise...moreI find Bukowski's poetry to be very hit-or-miss. Out of over 300 pages, there were approximately three poems that I liked in their entirety. Otherwise, there are the occasional lines that resonate buried beneath the less interesting--and more frequent--lines that hardly seem like poetry at all.
Bukowski is often more appealing because of his blunt honesty and cynicism than because of any particular skill at writing. Such an attitude can be refreshing, especially in a medium such as poetry, which is often flooded with sentimental mush.
While I'm not rating this collection very high, it doesn't mean I won't read more of Bukowski's work. Sure, I think he's overrated, but it doesn't seem like a complete waste of time to read his poems in search of those few lines that cut through the bullshit and evoke truth.(less)
This collection of poetry was a quick read. Gottlieb's work is sometimes feminist--empowering even--with subjects as varied as rape, gay/lesbian, Cind...moreThis collection of poetry was a quick read. Gottlieb's work is sometimes feminist--empowering even--with subjects as varied as rape, gay/lesbian, Cinderella, Barbie, conjoined twins, suicide, race, and even love poems. Her style leans towards experimental, which sometimes works for me, and sometimes doesn't.
A few examples of her work:
"you never forget your first"
out of town boy junior high school party just 14 vodka drinks things i don't remember vodka drinks english beat she said will you remember
said i'll never forget you the next day in the hall at school you told me you were a state-hurdler you told everyone i was easy never saw you again
you left me a secret ripped stockings passed out bloody legs vomiting in a pink bathtub your name bruises
you hugged me in the hall you told everyone i was easy i'd rather be easy than raped
i came to with no clothes no clothes were thick enough wearing shame for underwear i shoved the bloody stockings into the bathroom trash
apologized to the host for messing up the bathroom and left you were already gone
i pushed at the bruises trying to remember your touch
once the hangover and internal injuries were healed i had nothing to remember my first time with except sex
i bruised my way through thousands of fucks snake charming men out of their pants looking for another rapist like you so i could do it again so i could do it better
found another one he led me by the hand into a dark room at a party i punched him in the throat and got away he wasn't you
the bruises you left bone-deep fossils of your desire it's better to be irresistible than raped
if you hadn't wanted me so badly you would have done it so gentle like candlelight i know it i know if you hadn't needed me so violently you could have waited until i wasn't passed out
you could have given me rose-sweet kisses i could have been your preteen penthouse playmate i would have said yes but you never asked and i couldn't speak
do you ever think of me the way i think of you was that your first time too you never forget your first rapist
it's been 15 years i never touched you when you hugged me in the hall at school you were with another girl did you like her better? never saw you again
come back so i can say yes this time do it again now that i know what to call what you did
this time i'll be ready i like it rough now and i'm done with romance i never met another man who loved me so much at first sight he had to hurt me to do it
"kissing with the lights on"
You told me you like my mouth. You want to kiss me.
My mouth is a wound and you want to kiss me.
But you're like that: You want to go leaping over cliffs-- you want to go drinking poison and then write pretty poems about it-- and all I want to do is fuck you.
You want flowers and sonnets and us to be together until the end of the world and I'd just like a blow job, I'd just like to be friends. that's what I'd really like. Something warm and snuggly like a friendship. and to fuck you.
The flowers are going to die and the cliffs are going to erode and we might as well go fuck since we're going to anyway. We'll fuck and fight and eat and drink and smoke and fuck and smoke and fuck and get married
And in six months from now we'll stop making the world stop to fuck each other
and one year from now I'll get fat and you'll go bald and I'll take prozac and you'll take viagra I'll get obsessed with my biological clock and my career and you'll get obsessed with your hairline and your career
and two years from now you'd rather watch reruns than fuck me and I'd rather be drinking than fuck you so we'll drink in separate bars and one night someone who likes my mouth will buy me a drink that drink will be attached to a hand there will be a human holding that drink the kind with ears
and I will tell whoever it is all about you and how we used to forget to eat when we were in bed for three days and your ears will be burning across town where you are telling whoever it is how I don't understand you
and two years from now, that girl with that drink she will nod that yes that I am nodding at you tonight that nod, that yes that means you're not coming home because just for a second the world has gone away because just for a second there's someone who understands you
and that night it will be her pretty mouth you want and that night I will pass out at home, alone with a bottle that reminds me of us because it'll be empty because it'll be gone I will pass out waiting for you to come home listening to country music--and I hate country music-- but I'll be feeling tragic it'll be the most romantic moment I've ever had and I'll be alone
and you'll be across town with that girl who right now is in high school and right now I just met you and right now I think you should take me home and fuck me because it only gets uglier from here we only get uglier from here so take me to the edge of that cliff you love and pour me a shot of your silky poison you can take this mouth this wound you want but you can't kiss and make it better.
"the personal is political"
It kills me, the way the world is.
I sat down to write about it, about how every 15 seconds a woman is battered in the United States about how a woman is raped every 1.3 minutes, about how 1 in 8 women develops breast cancer and what I wrote was I like you.
This is a problem. The world already has too many of those. I already have too many of those.
I sat down to write about how desire and hate killed Matthew Sheppard and when I write desire I think of you I like you my pen sprouts snuggly kittens and spring flowers and I hate myself for it
I like you so much I had to have therapy for it and I like you so much I fucked other people to get rid of it and the weekend you went to disneyland I tried to grow mouse ears I tried to be your e-ticket I tried to grow up to be your full-service hotel except I won't throw you out for using bad words like they do so if you say oh fuck me oh god oh take me I'll take you back to bed
I like you so much this isn't in my agenda; I like you so much but this should be a poem about breast cancer and I like you so much this should be a poem about genocide and I like you so much this should be a poem about ending capitalism smashing the state stating the obvious getting smashed to tell you I'll fuck capitalism and patriarchy and totalitarianism to get next to you I will deep throat my politics I will get more therapy that I won't need if you're near me because therapy and politics are all about making the world a little more perfect when I close the door and it's you and me the world is a little more perfect whenever you smile at me in a world that doesn't offer many smiles the world is a little more perfect the world is perfect whenever I'm with you.(less)
I was unimpressed with 90% of the Bukowski I've read before I self-identified as feminist. Finishing the last half of this collection was cringe-worth...moreI was unimpressed with 90% of the Bukowski I've read before I self-identified as feminist. Finishing the last half of this collection was cringe-worthy.
But I liked this poem:
little sun little moon little dog and a little to eat and a little to love and a little to live for
in a little room filled with little mice who gnaw and dance and run while I sleep waiting for a little death in the middle of a little morning
in a little city in a little state my little mother dead my little father dead in a little cemetery somewhere.
I have only a little time to tell you this:
watch out for little death when he comes running
but like all the billions of little deaths it will finally mean nothing and everything:
all your little tears burning like the dove, wasted.(less)
I'm on page 63. Is it too soon to say I'm disappointed?
"...oh god blah, and yuck and YOU know and she knows and you will never cry for a time before a...moreI'm on page 63. Is it too soon to say I'm disappointed?
"...oh god blah, and yuck and YOU know and she knows and you will never cry for a time before a sound tells you why and how for a thought hits under your heels and smashes to the ground underneath the wheels of my rig full of cock and hope and eventual betrayal and you know and she knows and I did not but she is full of fear which makes me hot...."
"...Elf Mountain, i rely on you and a soft gang of unicorns plus the medicine to help me find that strange thing-- that strange valley sleep i find it so hard to imagine or reach ...Elf Mountain, do you have a favorite set of marbles in your jar of brains of things to help you do 'that' but something opposite of me when i am awake like this?"
"write a line cross it out nothing i say is ever good enough anyway my stomach is turning bloody gray full of rust riddled with cliche and gay as fuck"
This does nothing for me. Is it supposed to do something for me just because I'm a fan of his music? It doesn't. "Riddled with cliche and gay as fuck" describes it rather dead-on, but even that isn't good poetry (IMO--well, of course it's IMO, it's in my fucking book review).
PAGE 84--I GIVE UP. I am not enjoying it, so FUCK IT.(less)
I don't feel this collection was as strong as Why Things Burn, in part because of the horror movie theme. Don't get me wrong: it does work for some po...moreI don't feel this collection was as strong as Why Things Burn, in part because of the horror movie theme. Don't get me wrong: it does work for some poems, but I'm not interested in poems that are just lists of movie titles. I'm not hip enough.(less)
I can't relate to all the menopause writings (yet) or giving birth (eww), but the first half of the book contains some writings that appealed to me. N...moreI can't relate to all the menopause writings (yet) or giving birth (eww), but the first half of the book contains some writings that appealed to me. Not bad, yo.(less)