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The Drunken Driver Has the Right of Way: Poems
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The Drunken Driver Has the Right of Way: Poems

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  185 ratings  ·  28 reviews
From the fabulously creative filmmaker who wrote and produced movies such as Fargo, Barton Fink, and Blood Simple, this is a provocative, revealing, and often hilarious collection of poems that offers insight into an artist who has always pushed the boundaries of his craft.

In his screenplays and short stories, Ethan Coen surprises and delights us with a rich brew of ideas
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published October 16th 2001 by Crown
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3.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  185 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Jun 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: american
John said something to me earlier that perfectly echoes the namesake poem in this book. "Smart kids don't tend to do as well because they don't try when they think they might fail" or something like that, hopefully. That is the basic idea of the drunken driver. It is not that legally we should allow the drunken driver the right of way. It is simply saying that a reasonable person will always get out of the way of a crazy person thereby allowing the crazy person to win. This is why the world suck ...more
May 07, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-lit, poetry
Eh. Not great. Out of the entire book, there are only about 5 decent poems, the title poem being one of them. I stand by my first impression that it probably wouldn't have been published if Ethan Coen wasn't already famous.
Tyler Jones
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, the-fun-stuff
For fun Mr. Cohen would wrangle
words; and the meter he'd mangle
It's a serious crime
how he forces each rhyme
and all modifiers are left to dangle.
Nov 21, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was excited to find out that Ethan Coen (of the Coen brothers movie-making team) had written a book of poetry. I love their movies... so...

Which is the same mistake I made with buying David Mamet's book of poetry long ago.

Mostly rhyming poems. Poorly rhymed to boot. With a plethora of disgusting topics that seem preoccupied with fecal matter, male genitalia, sex (lots of sex), and prostitutes. There are other themes as well. But none of them much better.

I couldn't wait for this book to be over
May 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
What a great collection! It's a pleasure to read a volume of poetry that's genuinely funny (and sometimes, yes even for me, shocking) and doesn't spend a lot of time asking big questions - with one or two notable exceptions.

Anyone who gave up on poetry after stumbling around through Whitman or Dicksinson (like I did) will take heart after a few hours with Coen's poems. Maybe I'm just a sucker for low-brow humor delivered in lyrical form. (The collection does have about 8 pages of limericks!).

I p
c.vance c.vance
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
too clever for his own damned good at times---
or, if nothing else, too clever for coherency. but it is fun; a long list of dirty limericks and catchy hooks to poems. a fast way to be entertained but don't expect to take anything more from it.
Nov 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I got this book because of the author (I love his movies) for a friend who likes poetry (which is not me b/c I am too literal) but we spent the afternoon reading it together and laughing out loud. I loved it and I got it, which that in itself is a small feat
Brent Legault
Apr 03, 2008 rated it liked it
My sentiments toward this swaggering, staggering collection are best expressed in verse. Uh, it's a little saucey, so don't continue if sauciness offends or irritates you.


If Thurber & Poe & Geisel & Nash
Had all
jouissent into Dot Parker's gash

And had Parker agreed to carry to term
The resulting effects of their doggerel sperm

Then the doctor on duty at the Algonquin Hotel
(with scotch on his breath & belipsticked lapel)

Would've held in his hands (Though how c
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People Who Enjoy Unconventional Poetry
I began reading this not knowing what to expect. I thoroughly enjoy the Coen Brother's films and I was very much looking forward to reading Ethan's poetry. This collection features a vast array of both hits and misses, mostly hits. Ethan's poetry is frank, funny, and delightful. He seems to write about whatever happens to come to mind. You'll find poetry about love, loss, sex, greif, and general angst all in one place; I feel like that's important. Too many modern poets seem to be obessed with t ...more
Apr 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
For some time now, Wendell Berry has been my favorite poet. Though he hasn't quite been unseated by this remarkable collection, he now has his first serious rival, if indeed Coen can in any way be referred to as "serious." I was consistently delighted and amazed by the word constructions in this volume. I can't remember one poem that wasn't ironic or comical, but each one is skillfully constructed and perfectly executed. The topics range from the gross and bizarre to the absolutely incomprehensi ...more
Donald Armfield
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is the second poetry collection I read by Ethan Coen. He gave me new thoughts on reading other poetry. I listen to rap music, but never really read much of it.

This is some laughs you are missing if you are not picking this book up. Some of my favorites

-For What its Worth
-Such Sweet Sorrow
-The Fable of C. Edgar Bitter
-My Dream and What I Made of it
-The Twa Duncies

in the poem "You Want Spooky?" he wakes up to no penis. Its sitting at the table with the morning newspaper. The follow
Dec 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
I picked this up because of the catchy title, and because it's by Ethan Cohen. He has a habit of repetition, to his detriment - like when when telling a joke twice in a row doesn't make it funnier, the same thing goes for his good lines. He repeats them, as if discrediting the readers ability to realize their quality on our own. I also just didn't enjoy his poetry. He mostly just made fun of poetry with especially bad poetry.
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I doubt that this thin volume will ever win much favor with serious poets: the imagery is not strong, and the structures are formulaic. But therein lies the surprise (and hopefully the pleasure) for anyone not familiar with the style of the Coen Brothers in their films. As one half of that duo has here so aptly captured in words, the prosaic existence of humankind is punctuated by dirty, vulgar and violent tendencies, all of which we can do nothing about but laugh.
Nik Kane
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
You are probably familiar with this author's work as half of the genius film-making Coen brothers (Directors of Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou, etc.), but it may come as a surprise that he is also a quite talented, if at times vulgar and irreverent, poet.
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, kiva
Out of sixty-one poems, I only liked two. Not a good average. The two I did like were, Self-Portrait, about writing, and How Long, How Late about the sudden realization of aging, and for this one, only the last stanza put it into the like column.
Feb 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Kimball Crofts
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cathryn Cofell
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Cute. Clever. A little too for my taste
Jan 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
gruesome. naughty. hi-larious.
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-culture, poetry
Sometimes charming, but mostly tedious.
Jul 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read this a long time ago. Just revisited it and it is as awesome as I remembered. If you like your poetry on the dark side this is your book. The title says it all, no cry babies.
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
Not terrible, but nothing memorable about this one either.
Casey Hess
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fairly new to reading poetry, however, am a huge Coen fan. Many great and certainly very humorous work here. There is a limerick section that ran pretty long, but overall very worth it.
Bryan Douglas
Oct 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Ethan Coen does poetry.
Greg Jolley
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sparks and crashing colors and wit and danger. Brilliant.
katherine drake
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
The poetry is some times lackluster and a bit pointless,
but the dirty limericks are well worth the read.
Nathan Pearson
Apr 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Cleverly, filthily, riotously funny.
Jul 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Rich, Derek
The poems are brilliant.
The limerick section leaves you feeling like you need a few showers, but aside from that, the rest of the book is very good.
Jun 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
fun and lewd. watch out for the limericks.
Codey Lembck
rated it liked it
Dec 13, 2016
Greg Brozeit
rated it liked it
Dec 12, 2013
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Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, known together professionally as the Coen brothers, are four-time Academy Award winning American filmmakers. For more than twenty years, the pair have written and directed numerous successful films, ranging from screwball comedies (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Raising Arizona, The Hudsucker Proxy) to film noir (Miller's Crossing, Blood Simple, The Man Who Wasn't There, No ...more