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Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  324 ratings  ·  28 reviews
This book of documentary poetics is by an important up and coming female experimentalist.

Juliana Spahr uses details to explore Hawai'i's politics of location and her own place in it as an outsider: a hard-core show where the singer shouts out fuck you-aloha-I love you over and over; the pidgin word 'da kine;' native Hawaiian rights to gathering; Palolo stream; the similari
Paperback, 96 pages
Published November 27th 2001 by Wesleyan University Press
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  324 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Dec 25, 2008 rated it liked it
A noble project, but a little repetitive. By the time I reached the lengthy poem that excerpts a tumbling manual, I was all, I GET IT.

The book is worth reading, if only for the third poem "Switching":

"This impossible position.

This position that does not even give the most pleasure.

And yet we place all our hope in this touching.

As touching, gathering, happens
in the most difficult places at
the most difficult times."
Jul 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
These five poems are experimental but surprisingly accessible (while not at all simple), and I love how she subtly enters the ordinary, everyday messes of space in Hawai’i. She seems to translate the deeply ingrained colonialism of things like barriers to public access of Palolo Stream into beautifully radical, precocious children’s stories. She pulls cliched local catch phrases like da kine close to the chest again. From her poem things:

There are these things and they

are da kine to me. They a
Feb 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Juliana Spahr is good and she sort of knows that. There's this quality in there, something going on in the knowing-everything of it. The poems should be a little more brittle than they are, they could be as paul says leaky or something so as to put to use all of her talent and intellegence and make the whole thing a little more brave and do it a little like we are humans and we are sort of talking.

Ok. The poems aren't really that impersonal, but she got on my very bad side when she said that nat
Jan 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
This only gets 1 1/2 stars from me. Not my style at all.
Joseph Spuckler
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You by Juliana Spahr is a collection of poetry with a Hawaiian theme. Spahr earned a BA in languages and literature from Bard College and a PhD in English from SUNY Buffalo. Spahr’s interests revolve around questions of transformation, language, and ecology. Concerned with politics without being overtly political, Spahr’s work crosses a variety of American landscapes, from the disappearing beaches of Hawaii to the small town of her Appalachian childhood. She has taught at S ...more
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, library, poetry
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
A lot to like here, with sprawling cycles and circles, literal descriptions that feel figurative.
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Spahr’s “Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You” is both an exploration of Hawaii’s politics as well as a personal poem about finding the poet’s identity as a foreigner. Even the provocative title is a demonstration of repetition: she pairs the American expletive “Fuck You” with the peaceful and affectionate Hawaiian term “Aloha” with the powerful, simple American term of endearment, “I Love You.” In each of her five poems, repetition easily moves us from line to line, page to page, and poem to poem. She rep ...more
Richard Leis
Nov 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is a short book of poetry that I think demonstrates well the idea that a poet and her poems should teach the reader how to read her poetry. The use of repetition and allegory, simple language, and returning to similar themes quickly trained me how to read the book. In the process, I did find it occasionally too repetitive. In these spots, I tried to enjoy the sound of the repetition, the same words again and again, sometimes with building variations, leading eventually to insight. Also help ...more
Renee Alberts
Oct 30, 2007 rated it it was ok
Spahr's poems read like philiosophical arguments--series of premises leading up to conclusions. The effect is at turns pretentiously distant or urgently inviting. The back of the book (which you should definitely read, since it describes the subject matter of the several long poems more explicitly than the poems themselves) calls this "documentary Poetics."

In Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You, she explores ideas of connection and place using the example of her home, Hawai'i, and its complex environment
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, hawaii, love
Seven long poem-thoughts. Echoes and repetitions of hellos and goodbyes...

I especially love her description of the pidgin "da kine" or the word you use when you don't use the word...

"There are these things and they

are da kine to me. They are the tear.

The torn circle.

There are these things and they are

the circle malformed, pulled tight

in one place. These things are the

symbol of all not being right. They

are da kine for me.

Da kine for me is the moment when

things extend beyond you and me

and into the
This isn't my usual (ah, the public library)--and it's not poetry of a type that I strive to write--and, you know, sometimes this book drove me up the wall with its repetitions and its rather nun-like finger-wagging chaste little sentences. But one poem in here did poke a few holes in my tent. "Culture is when. . ." she begins each section (or "In culture,"), and then she goes on to describe a gymnastic formation, very line by line, prosaically. I'm still not sure what it amounts to, but I like ...more
Bryan J. Pitchford, MFA
One might call this "experimental, but surprisingly accessible" to sound educated, but one is putting on airs. "Experimental" in this case is code for, "I have no clue what I just read, but I want you to think I am in the know. Oh! Look at all the uncreased, leather-bound tomes on my bookshelves of rich mahogany".
Dear reader, I have been in love with poetry for a long time. Unfortunately, this is utter drivel and I am sorry I was forced to purchase it for an MFA course.
Jul 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pomes
Juliana Spahr writes the kind of poetry that I normally have a hard time liking. I love her poetry. Which is fitting, because the poetry is about the paradoxes. All the paradoxes. It's political and sort of theoretical and it asks you to grapple with language. It does it very well. And to make sure of that fifth star from me, she has titled this book with a pretty much perfect title. Thanks, Juliana! ...more
Poetry should be allowed to play the same game as orchestral music. When there's a good part, and you know it's a good part, you should get to repeat it in ways that are meaningful to the poem and the listener. That's what Fuck You, Aloha does. And in ways that nudge more meaning onto the page. A true pleasure. ...more
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
I hear here the same music (a lullaby?) that I hear in Gertrude Stein. I did enjoy very much the poem that circles "da kine" and the sticky mixed up mosh pit. But the other poems felt like notes written after an intimate writers yoga retreat that I didn't go to. ...more
Jan 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
The emperor isn't wearing any clothes. I can't find any merit in this book. The structure, the form, and the sound aren't interesting. The subjects of the poems, whether sex or environmentalism, come across as cliche rather than compelling because they are completely vague and inhuman. ...more
Dec 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
switching is my favorite contemporary poem of all time.

Colleen Mills
Jun 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: poets/writers/activists
Poetry: An intriguing look at the interactions of writer reader, individual vs. community.
Nicole ( Colie )
Oct 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
9.11 and Iraq War news obsession, pitted against lovely morning skin-against-skin and the sound of Hawaiian birds. Spare, simple, repetitive, important.
Oct 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I love you, Juliana Spahr!
Emma Bolden
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
A mind-bending exploration of the possibilities and impossibilities inherent in language. The book builds, in a symphonic structure, from the concept of "da kine" to seek out the unspeakable. ...more
Danny Caine
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Frank, direct, and thoughtful exploration of what it means to belong to a "we" and who has access to politically fraught spaces. This is docupoetry that's not meddled or unnecessarily opaque. ...more
Chris Schaeffer
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was reading Juliana Spahr on the beach. It worked pretty well. A year prior, what was I reading on the beach? Seneca and Ryuichi Tamura. Gee, life is cool.
Sep 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Instructional. Sensual. Flowing, gentle, direct sort of language and rhythm that mostly only Spahr achieves so easily these days.
Nov 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I feel a lot a lot of warmth for this book. Wow! Way to use some language. I will read "Da kine" a hundred times. ...more
Joshua Corey
Aug 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Personal and all-encompassing at once. Broke my heart -- in a cleansing way.
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Juliana Spahr (born 1969) is an American poet, critic, and editor. She is the recipient of the 2009 Hardison Poetry Prize awarded by the Folger Shakespeare Library to honor a U.S. poet whose art and teaching demonstrate great imagination and daring.

Both Spahr's critical and scholarly studies, i.e., Everybody’s Autonomy: Connective Reading and Collective Identity (2001), and her poetry have shown S

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