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4.38  ·  Rating details ·  4,300 ratings  ·  713 reviews
Helium is the debut poetry collection by internet phenom Rudy Francisco, whose work has defined poetry for a generation of new readers. Rudy's poems and quotes have been viewed and shared millions of times as he has traveled the country and the world performing for sell-out crowds. Helium is filled with work that is simultaneously personal and political, blending love ...more
Kindle Edition, 113 pages
Published November 27th 2017 by Button Poetry
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Average rating 4.38  · 
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 ·  4,300 ratings  ·  713 reviews

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"Tell me a story
and let's laugh like it's the only
thing keeping us alive.

Play a song
and give the stereo
permission to use its
outside voice.

Let's sing loudly,
offbeat and out of tune..
Let the world know
we don't care how it sounds
because the only key we need
is already in the ignition."

(from Drive)

Poetry is indeed food for the soul. The cover of Rudy Francisco's first book of poems attracts immediate attention, but it is the poems that will slide into your thoughts and demand your attention. Divided
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
I hope there is something
beautiful on the horizon
that’s just as impatient as I am.
Something so eager,
it wants to meet me halfway.
A moment that is diligently
staring at its watch, trembling with
nervousness, frustrated,
and bursting at the seams,
wondering what’s taking me
so long to arrive.

Somehow, this resonated with me.

Q: Do you know the human body is approximately
sixty percent water? When I walk into a room
full of people, all I see is an ocean.
It just sits there, with a mouth
Cindy Pham
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m not a big poetry reader but I thought Helium was fairly solid. Francisco’s style is very much an overload of metaphors, which people might get tired of but I personally enjoyed it. The way he pieces them together and gives anecdotes for double meanings makes the journey of going through each poem interesting. In particular, I appreciated the way he talks about the struggles of his black identity and realization of his toxic masculinity. The main caveat I had was that he often writes about ...more
"My hobbies include: editing my life story, hiding behind metaphors, and trying to convince my shadow that I'm someone worth following."

Wow, this was beautiful, the poems are so lyrical and have an emotional punch. This collection of poems discusses many social issues like sexism, racism, mental health, religion, etc. I especially love the poems about "being black in America" were very eye opening. Like this one here:

"Being black is one of the most extreme sports in America. We don't need to
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally, finally - here's a poetry book that really lived up to the hype.

Evocative and beautiful, this is a short collection but it packs a punch and covers a wide range of topics - there's a lot of love, from inception to infatuation to heartbreak, but the author isn't shy of straying into more political topics.

Every word felt authentic and heartfelt. I'll be very interested to see what comes next.
Shannon (leaninglights)
I will read/listen to anything this man writes. Complainers and Yes were my favorite pieces of work. I HIGHLY recommend for poetry lovers and novices alike. ...more
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Raw and unflinchingly honest, these poems—especially those on racism and other social issues—land like sucker punches in the stomach. Read them and open your eyes if you haven’t already.
Catherine ♡
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, social-issues
Beautiful beautiful beautiful.
An everyday inspiration but also a political statement.
Kristy K
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, arc, poetry, 2017
4.5 Stars

My reflections on each part.


Rudy Francisco is a ray of light with hopeful, humorous words and a positive outlook. There’s a light-hearted banter here that in no way diminishes the quality or meaning of his message.

His poems still talk of new love, of a life unfinished, and of finding his way, but there is something refreshing about the way he writes.


As good as he is at writing about optimism, he’s even better at writing about loss. His poems Vanish, Scars, and Museum struck a cord
Katie McNelly
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Phenomenal collection of poetry. I can’t wait to gather my thoughts into a coherent review.
Laura Noggle
Rudy Francisco has a visceral voice guaranteed to reverberate somewhere in your soul. His poems are lyrical and maintain a delicate balance between light, ephemeral prose and heavy hitting slam dunks.

A brief 96 pages, I can see myself revisiting my highlights in the future, or at least snooping on his Instagram: @RudyFrancisco.

I have solar-powered confidence
and a battery-operated smile.
My hobbies include: editing my life story,

hiding behind metaphors,
and trying to convince my shadow
that I'm
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Update: this book shouldn’t have been eliminated from the Goodreads 2018 poetry awards.

This has to be one of the best books I’ve read this year. The poetry is so relatable, reassuring, heartbreaking, light, inspirational, etc.

Loved it.
Jananie (thisstoryaintover)
My first read of the year! I have had this collection recommended to me time and time again and it did not disappoint! The collection is split into four sections, each with a decidedly different tone but all incredibly thought-provoking and beautifully written. Rudy Francisco covers a range of topics and emotions from race to love, from sexism to imposter syndrome, and everything in-between. I loved every moment of the journey and this has definitely become one of my favourite poetry ...more
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
reading this book for the second time, my appreciation for it only grew more. it is amazing.

One of my new year resolutions was to read more poetry well it is the only thing I actually did. I read a lot of poetry books this year and while I am not a critique I can say that this book was one of the best poetry books that I've read so far, if it wasn't THE best.
I found it very relatable and the parts that wasn't I nevertheless enjoyed. I'm glad I decided to read it.
Middlemist Red
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, poetry
As always, in order to get out of my reading slump, I needed to read some poetry, and I was drawn to this collection because of Nour’s review!
This was such a delight to read, not disappointing at all. I loved this book!
Anna Kander
Rudy Francisco is a black spoken-word poet from San Diego. His book has about sixty poems, a mix of longer poems (about 1-3 pages) with quick 1-2 line poems. This is love poetry—sensual passages dot the text. This is also no-holds-barred protest poetry. It made me say “F**k yes.”

Yet from the first page, I was also chuckling. The book has genuine laughs, and some poems have creative points of view—for example, “the day has been asking about you.” Reading the whole thing was an experience—the
Samantha (AK)
Hello there! It’s me, Chronically-Late-to-the-Party. This is what I get for not keeping up with the poetry circuit, I suppose. Helium popped up in my GR updates feed with a cover that made me look twice, and an endorsement in the review that had me kicking up a trail of dust in my fast-track to the library. It’s just as good as promised.

Rudy Francisco’s work is clear and incisive. He wields his words like razor blades, cutting away to the core of all those moments in our lives that catch the
katerina ☕
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
"I died early. I died young with breadcrumbs in my hand, so they buried me and when they buried me, they put these coins over my eyes, and I used them as bus fare to get back to Earth, just so I can look for you"
In the narrative of a gawky, frustrated and heartbroken guy from high school scribbling love poems and shit.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, poetry
Review soon.
Rawda Hejazy
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy Moly! This book was so freakin’ beautiful. Loved the magic of words and its light breeze on me.

So many of these poems resonated with me and my personal life. I couldn’t ask for a better and such a light book to accompany me in this short trip.

Enjoyed it, and I consumed it quickly. Yup! Such a delicious reading, go for it! You won’t regret it. :)

“ I convinced my fist it was a flower. It relaxed, it bloomed and I forgave you before you even apologized."
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“At this age,
my body is a stranger that I
keep meeting over and over again.”

“The words “I am” are slowly
transforming into “I used to be”
because every year,
the past tense finds a larger house
inside the neighborhood of my
everyday vernacular.”

“On days like this,
I am the house and
the ghost,
responsible for my
own haunting.
My brain is a revolver
with “Am I good enough?”
in every chamber.
So I turn into a factory that
only makes the word “yes” and I say it until it can easily
be mistaken for the truth,
but my
Dhivyaa Naraayani
Too old for this sort of poetry. Over exposure towards a bunch of crappy poems on the internet is to be blamed for. They all sound so so similar that neither could I not resonate nor could I differentiate.

Stopped almost midway.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-arc
This was such a delight to read. Rudy Francisco writes straightforward, vulnerable poetry that could best be described as ‘well-intentioned sucker punches’.
Francisco addresses his own struggles in this collection, at times self-deprecating, at others so unflinchingly honest it feels uncomfortable to read:
I have an odd fascination with sandcastles and ice sculptures: things that will only last a few moments. That’s also why I fall in love with women who will never love me back.

Especially the
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

For starters I want to mention that I don't normally read poetry, it's definitely not my genre and I tend to avoid it. And still, I'm so glad to have read this book.

The book is divided into four sections that don't have an specific name or them but I decided to group together according to the things they made me feel.

Part I is about a shattered man and how he's hurting and dealing with
Luke Gorham
May 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2017
1.5 - I really wanted to write an articulate savaging of this inexplicably popular collection, but there is just too much material to work with. Instead, I'll leave you with this highlight:

She has violin strings for legs,
a graveyard of awkward treble clefs buried in her knees
and I can see the suffering inside of the concert of her walk.

I mean, Francisco's got a good shot at winning next year's middle school poetry slam, so there's that.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Button Poetry fans!
"I’m still learning
how to whisper, I’m loud in places
where I should be quiet, I’m quiet
in places where I should be loud."
This is by far the best poetry collection that I've read this year, and I think that's saying something since I don't really dig reading these types.

To be honest, Helium really didn't appeal to me that much in the first 15 pages more or less because it leaned more on the author's poetic inclination to heartbreak. As a NBSB individual it's kind of cringy and too insulting
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a solid and wholly original debut poetry collection. Some of the metaphors Francisco used were stunning and the images he paints are incredibly vivid, and, at times, ethereal. However, I did feel that this book was a tale of two halves - I thoroughly enjoyed each and every poem up until section III, where a few sounded a bit too preachy and accusatory for my liking. I actually found his shorter poems to be the most hard-hitting and punchier whilst the lengthier poems failed to drive ...more
Most poems in Part II and Part IV blew me away. Made me feel all the feels.
I must say, I didn't click with most of the others. That's just how it goes with poetry. It speaks to you or it doesn't.

Rudy Fransisco is one of the stand out names i've memorised from all the Button Poetry videos i've seen and he performs them brilliantly. I definitely recommend checking his performances out.
Karen Mace
I needed to read some poetry for a reading challenge I'm taking part in this year, and was drawn to this collection because of the cover! And that way of choosing books has served me well yet again, as I found this to be a stunning, honest and powerful collection of poems by a man I'd only seen clips off via Button Poetry online.

He has an amazing way with words and covers a wide range of subjects from depression to racism, to love to hate, and hope and despair. And with some poems he only needs
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Rudy Francisco was born and raised in San Diego, California. At the age of 21, Rudy completed his B.A in Psychology and decided to continue his education by pursuing a MA in Organizational Leadership. As an artist, Rudy Francisco combines activism and poetry to enlighten the minds of those who witness his performance. Rudy eloquently absorbs the experiences of those around him, synthesizes them ...more
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“She asks me to kill the spider.
Instead, I get the most
peaceful weapons I can find.

I take a cup and a napkin.
I catch the spider, put it outside
and allow it to walk away.

If I am ever caught in the wrong place
at the wrong time, just being alive
and not bothering anyone,

I hope I am greeted
with the same kind
of mercy.”
“The difference between a garden and a graveyard is only what you choose to put in the ground” 41 likes
More quotes…