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Yes, Master

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  70 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
In his second book, Michael Earl Craig blurs the line between the documentary and imaginative impulses. The resulting poems mutilate pastoral myths—a man who has ignored horses his whole life but now wants to try touching one, or two gay donkeys and their uneventful lives on the high plains—but also pay tribute to the current-day West in which Craig lives.
Paperback, 80 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by Fence Books (first published 2006)
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M. Sarki
May 05, 2014 rated it liked it

There was a period some years ago when I engaged myself in a personal contradictory struggle over feeling my life had no meaning. I say contradictory because I had no reason to feel this way. I was happily married to the woman of my dreams, our children had all completed college except for our youngest who was enrolled, my wife and I both had decent jobs, we lived in a nice home with a dog and a yard, and I was writing poetry under the tutelage of Gordon L
Bryan Coleman
Feb 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Yes Master is truly a mix between comedy and seriousness. Though the 50 poems in this book center around landscape and farm work, they veer wildly from romanticized notions of farm life toward threatening, obsessive, and even bizarrely surreal narratives.

There are gay donkeys, a fierce boxing match between hawk and rabbit and constant judgments from opinionated horses. Craig's narrator knows what he is doing with the poems, offering trickery and confusion, and sometimes indifference. In one poe
Victoria Elmore
Feb 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
Michael Earl Craig's collection of short, comical, but sometimes melancholy poetry, considers the role of everyday objects - a new anvil, a black derby "soft as a colt's nose," a series of wristwatches - revealing that daily life on the farm is more than just the sum of its seemingly mundane parts.

The poems focus on rural landscape and farm work, though consistently depart from expectations of pastoral poetry, painting surreal narratives from commercialized views of farm life.

I loved the way Cr
David Schaafsma
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I read Talkativeness and Thin Kimono, two later books, before this one, and iced those two books better. This has more deliberate joking, as in the Jaques Tati cover and the allusion to s/m in the title (and no connection to any of the poems, of course). He writes about his work as farrier and also about his work as poet. Some poems are great here, and none of it is boring, but in those two other books, there is more exhilaration.
Jul 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
i don't ever get annoyed by this book.
May 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Matthew Rohrer, Ben Lerner
I like this book.

Michael Earl Craig is a nice person.
Feb 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
I was impressed by the balance between the funny and the serious in Yes, Master. The dedications and the opening start the book off in a comical, light-hearted way. Even so, as one continues reading further, it becomes obvious that Craig addresses serious issues such as depression and therapy. He does so humbly (at least in my opinion), without over-dramatizing or making it the primary point. I also enjoyed the numerous accounts of simple objects and beings that would normally go unconsidered. B ...more
Feb 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
Craig's voice over the course of this little book ends up being beautiful. It's a process where the coaxing and cuteness dry out over the timecourse of the read, giving way to the weakness underneath; the flippant references to Christopher Walken, Red Bull and HBO that seem more like nervous name-dropping than careful cultural positioning, these end up building a strange plastic nest for "He walked like a foster child" and "horses / running away from me at a great distance". This definitely seem ...more
Feb 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Michael Craig uses poetry to explore even the most mundane and ordinary of subjects. Many of his poems seem to follow the inner workings of his head as he jumps from everyday thought to everyday thought--the poem "Ways of Dealing" is a conglomeration of his random musings as he sprawls across the couch. There are several themes that tie together the book, such as horses and anvils, which recur a number of times in different poems. However, I found some poems to be a little too scattered for me a ...more
Rebecca Tassell
Feb 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Not being a poetically inclined person, I found it hard to understand what Michael Earl Craig was trying to get across in some of his poems. They were comedic and light-hearted (usually), and represented his life in the West. He obviously has a thing for humor, horses, and inanimate objects and has no limit on how absurd he will get. The way he writes so seriously about things such as watches, anvils, and hatchets should come off as humorous to the readers. I enjoyed his semi-autobiographical po ...more
Feb 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
I feel a bit bad for not liking this. I wish I liked this collection more. Michael Earl Craig seems like a likable person. He talks about Herzog a number of times. I like Herzog a lot. The poem about receiving the anvil in the mail--that one was very good. A few others I liked quite a bit as well (I can't be bothered to grab the book and be specific). But I rolled my eyes to the majority. My eyes spun and spun. Involuntarily, I should add. Flippancy and humor done wrong (I can't be bothered to l ...more
Feb 08, 2010 rated it liked it
I liked some of the lighthearted poems in this collection, especially those dealing with animals. He used humor well to convey his ideas in a subtle way. I thought some of his poems, such as "I'll fight depression for you," were not as strong because of his use of weak verbs and unnecessary words (in my opinion).
Brian Foley
Nov 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: argonaut
An orgy of most everything I enjoy about writing. Flippant humor, rampant objectification, lonesome days. I will run back into the burning house for this.
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So so good. It's like I've been hiding inside my own body for a long time. ' "No Albert, this isn't your mother." ' Michael Earl Craig is not my mother.
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-poetics
"Albert Often Cracked His Knuckles" was my favorite. Great cover art.
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