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War of the Foxes

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  3,595 ratings  ·  435 reviews
In this long-awaited follow-up to Crush, Yale Series of Younger Poets prize-winner Richard Siken turns toward the problems of making and representation, in an unrelenting interrogation of our world of doublings. In this restless, swerving book simple questions—such as, Why paint a bird?—are immediately complicated by concerns of morality, human capacity, and the ways we lo ...more
Paperback, 49 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Copper Canyon Press
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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Shannon
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
This rating is probably slightly higher than it should be if I were being honest with myself, but Richard Siken's first book, Crush, is one of the best things I've ever read by anybody and very important to me, so I can't fathom taking away more than one star from him.

At any rate, I was obviously eagerly anticipating this, and I have to admit it didn't quite live up to my (admittedly lofty) expectations. Let me be clear about one thing: it's really not anything at all like Crush, except that Sik
...more
Victoria
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
god, god, god, why did i read this with my pdf of crush open?

but, no, really - they really do belong together. crush we all loved because it was rife with longing and reeking of desperation, because all of his poems went back to the same thread of wanting. war of the foxes is that slightly lonely aftermath, especially in the beginning, and because it's not circling the same yearning that crush had, its poems are more - i don't want to say scatterbrained, because they're not, but the poems cover
...more
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
"Everyone needs a place. It shouldn’t be inside of someone else."

"Am I the ghost at the end of the song? We are very close now, Little Moon. Thank you for shining on me.

He was pointing at the moon but I was looking at his hand. He was dead anyway, a ghost. I’m surprised I saw his hand at all. All this was prepared for me. All this was set in motion long ago. I live in someone else’s future. I stayed as long as I could, he said. Now look at the moon."


it's abt grief & death & lost love but still,
...more
•°• gabs •°•
HE WAS SO SICK FOR THIS
___________________
"Sometimes, at night, in bed, before I fall asleep, I think about a poem I might write, someday, about my heart, says the heart."

________________

i will never love a poem more than i love the language of the birds

________________
I am speechless
...more
Katrina
Aug 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry
While this collection started off on a fairly strong note, it began fragmenting early on, disintegrating into a repetitive series of empty words and images. This is the exact type of self-referential, intentionally clever poetic trap that I so heartily praised Crush for resisting. It's particularly disappointing because Siken's first collection was so exceptional. These poems feel as though they were written by an entirely different person; I had to flip to the back cover several times to double ...more
Mónica BQ
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
While this isn't Crush (and it is unfair to even try and compare them), this still a swoon worthy collection of poems. There are feelings that Siken knows how to put on words that are mind-blowing. Have you ever felt like your heart is thundering in your ribcage while you read something?
Well, that's how reading Siken always feels like.
...more
Izzy
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hook and bait,
polestar and checkmate, I am your arrival,
there is no
refusal, we are here, you see, together, we are already here.

I don't like to review poetry, so I'll just talk a little bit about this one.

Richard Siken is my favorite poet. His first collection, Crush, was the first poetry book I felt truly able to connect with. There's something about the way he describes his passions and his losses, so raw and beautifully, that made me feel almost transcendent. So it was hard for me to rat
...more
David
May 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
You cannot have an opponent if you keep saying yes. From "War of the Foxes", which was my favorite. What is war about? Why are people angry? Why must the fox chase the bunnies?

I liked the language in "Lovesong of the Square Root of Negative One". invisible, knot, velocity, vector, elastic, yardstick, equal sign, superimpose, relative, magnetized, polestar.

I think all of these poems have great sounds within them. Single sentence ideas with a ring. But my mind kept seeing Geoffrey Rush from the mo
...more
Leonor
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Saying something should be enough. It isn't. It should be.
Things to point out: this isn't ''Crush''. It didn't have to be. This is something different.
Things to point out: this is a book about violence. I've read many lists of what this book is about. Meaning, creation, existence, eternal questioning, birds. I felt it as a book of violence. I felt it like one feels two boots walking over a tired chest, if one is to feel this ever in one's life.
Things to point out: -
how am I to know where to fi
...more
Sylwia
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
'War of the Foxes' hasn't left me me as heartbroken as 'Crush' did but it still made quiet an impression. I think the poems in this one are more thought-out but at the same time more wild, almost violent. I'm sure I'll read this collection many times in the near future and then I'll be able to talk about my favourites. For now, I cannot stop thinking about 'Detail of the Woods' and 'Self-portrait Against Red Wallpaper'. I'm glad we got new material from Siken. He paints with his words like no on ...more
Natalie
May 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Just fucking brilliant. Every single line, every single page. Siken surpasses Crush by a milestone. Crush was a lot about loss, love, death, and heartbreak. In War of The Foxes, Siken goes beyond those major themes in life to talk about the matter/meaning of existence itself through the metaphors of landscapes, birds, and paint. He made me feel things that I can't explain. I threw this book down multiple times while reading. I cried somewhere in the middle and my heart screamed for purpose. ...more
G.
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
No, this is not a repeat of Crush. Yes, it's the same Siken. No, it's not the weaker collection. It's not as loud as Crush, not as raw or in your face, so you have to dig deeper. It's layers upon layers that you have to unpeel for yourself.

You can’t paint the inside of anything, so why would you try?
...more
Kathleen
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My interview with Siken about this book is here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/artic... ...more
Joshie
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, lgbt, 3-star
Siken's second poetry collection, War of the Foxes, is a much subdued, much quiet collection. Where Crush is mostly rough, obsessed, and eager to encapsulate the lover with its ravaging arms, War of the Foxes drinks up the lover through glances and stares from afar frequently with a brush and canvas at hand; the encapsulation happens every time, every chance art inspires and devastates. Often portrays the painter and their subject in myriad of spaces and touches, entwining bodies and bodies ...more
jam
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
loved it. self-portrait against red wallpaper particularly was a terrible call out from mister richard siken and i'm gonna have to read that twice or ten times ...more
annie
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars, poetry
his MIND
janjanjan
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
felicity's first read − feb. 22, 2020; awesome to revisit such masterpiece ...more
dante émile
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
what DOES all this love amount to mr siken?
Edita
Jan 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, richard-siken
I wanted to explain
myself to myself in an understandable way.I gave
shape to my fears and made excuses. I varied my
velocities, watched myselves sleep. Something’s not
right about what I’m doing but I’m still doing it—
living in the worst parts, ruining myself.
*
Sometimes the man felt like
the bird and sometimes the man felt like a stone—solid,
inevitable—but mostly he felt like a bird, or that there was
a bird inside him, or that something inside him was like a
bird fluttering.
Ken
Nov 20, 2020 rated it liked it
A lot of metaphoric stuff about painting that didn't really resonate as much as it might have. ...more
Paige Hettinger
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
not quite crush for me, but think that’s because i’ve always preferred poetry about desire and this moved a good bit into the philosophical. but “birds hover the trampled field” is one of my favorite poems of all time and holding it in my hands felt magical. still a stellar, life changing collection from an unchallenged poet.
S.T. Gibson
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
*lies on the ground quietly*
Skyeofskynet
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am so conflicted about "War of the Foxes", I've just realized I forgot to add it to the "Read" shelf, even if I was done in a few days after the premiere.
While "Crush" is an emotional rollercoaster (I've read "Crush" at least dozen times and I am always discovering somehing new), "War of the Foxes" was kinda disappointing. It's no because this book is bad, no. It's because I was expecting "Crush 2", which is not possible, because Siken had time to deal with his emotions and could focus on dif
...more
H.
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, poetry
This collection is... very different; gone is the distinctive urgency, forwardness, and passion of Crush. War of the Foxes is, instead, an allegory painted in soft strokes and muted colours, more of a reflection of the self and the world surrounding it than a story told in screaming colours, blood, and bruises.
However, it's still very much a good collection, and it's interesting to see Siken doing a different take on poetry than what he did in Crush: comparisons will, of course, still be drawn,
...more
Tori
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: very-gay, poetry, all-time
Anyone can paint a mask. It's boring. And everyone secretly wants to collaborate with the enemy, to construct a truer version of the self. How much can you change and get away with it, before you turn into someone else, before it's some kind of murder? Difficult, to be confronted with the fact of yourself.

ETA Nov 2017:
I don't have the words I'd need to explain how striking both Crush and War of the Foxes are to me, albeit in hugely different ways. They can hardly be compared to each other, they
...more
Allison
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This was... disappointing. It was completely boring- all about math and painting. I'm sure it was metaphors and I'm just too whatever to understand it, but Siken's Crush made me feel like someone was stepping on my chest! War of the Foxes made me feel nothing. Not a thing. It was 47 pages of boring that I made myself read. ...more
Bambi
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
richard siken said "I wanted to explain myself to myself in an understandable way. I gave shape to my fears and made excuses. I varied my velocities, watched myselves sleep. Something's not right about what I'm doing but I'm still doing it- living in the worst parts, ruining myself. My inner life is a sheet of black glass. If I fell through the floor I would keep falling. The enormity of my desire disgusts me." and we just Let Him................... ...more
Carol
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt, poetry-essays
this book changed my life 10/10 i want to go to richard sikens house and pet his cat while we both cry we both live in arizona so like i could do that feasibly some time before april 23
shensis
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
"what does all this love amount to?"
"it should be enough. to make something beautiful should be enough. it isn’t. it should be."
<333333333333333
...more
Mattea Gernentz
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"I'll live alone or in between. This is the testimony of the / deer: solitude, the long corridors, love from a distance. / You asked me once, What are we made of? Well, these / are the things we're made of. One house, two house. / The road goes away from here" (37).

Illuminating. Exceptional. A balm. If I had to describe this collection as a fusion of other things, it would be The Secret History's obsession with the picturesque meeting the mythical and folkloric nature of My Head Is an Animal by
...more
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Detail of the woods 3 26 Mar 31, 2018 06:18PM  

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Richard Siken is an American poet, painter, and filmmaker.

His poetry collection Crush won the 2004 Yale Series of Younger Poets prize, a Lambda Literary Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, Conjunctions, Indiana Review and Forklift, Ohio, as well as in the anthologies The Best American Poetry 2000 and
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51 likes · 13 comments
“How much can you change and get away with it, before you turn into someone else, before it's some kind of murder?” 186 likes
“I wanted to explain myself to myself in an understandable way. I gave shape to my fears and made excuses. I varied my velocities, watched myselves sleep. Something's not right about what I'm doing but I'm still doing it-- living in the worst parts, ruining myself. My inner life is a sheet of black glass. If I fell through the floor I would keep falling.
The enormity of my desire disgusts me.”
118 likes
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