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I Will Destroy You: Poems

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The newest collection from Nick Flynn, whose “songs of experience hum with immediacy” (The New York Times)

Beginning with a poem called “Confessional” and ending with a poem titled “Saint Augustine,” Nick Flynn's I Will Destroy You interrogates the potential of art to be redemptive, to remake and reform. But first the maker of art must claim responsibility for his past, his
Paperback, 96 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Graywolf Press
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
full of ruefulness, remorse, ruin, regret, rawness, and reflection, the forty-four poems that make up nick flynn's latest collection, i will destroy you, find the poet/memoirist expounding ever further upon themes he's explored in previous works, perhaps most notably in another bullshit night in suck city (later adapted into the film, being flynn). the suicide of his mother, as it does elsewhere in his writing, looms large in his dark, but stirring new collection. flynn is a father now and throu ...more
Julie Ehlers
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
the deal—if you die

then I will be able to
drink again & no

one alive will even
blame me—this,

child, is the dark wind in-

side, but not
the darkest ...

—From "Poem to Be Whispered by the Bedside of a Sleeping Child"

Yes, this is dark, but, in I Will Destroy You, possibly not the darkest. But I Will Destroy You is the darkest Nick Flynn has been, and that's saying something. Undeniably effective and affecting, but I hope the next one is a little bit lighter, for the sake of both the reader and the
Sarah Katz
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I Will Destroy You is the modernized retelling of Icarus—except that, after the speaker’s fall, its protagonist is resurrected. In the opening poem, “Confessional,” he lays himself bare to the reader—“admits” to his faults, preparing the reader for something dark and heavy. “Now, it [this poem] wears its shame like a halo,” read its final lines. “Please, take it, rip it up, put it in your glass. / We can watch it dissolve.” Throughout the book, through some sort of sleight of hand I can’t quite ...more
Nov 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Very badly wanted to like this collection of poems from Flynn more than I actually do. But there's only a small bunch of poems in there that I actually like. But those that I like, I like quite a lot. Considered giving it a 4-star rating, but somehow I just can't make myself do it.

These are poems that I think are rather lovely :




Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
4.5 Stars
After reading the fourth poem in this book, Poem to be whispered by the bedside of a sleeping child I closed the book for a moment and audibly said, "damn." I Will Destroy You will feel familiar to fans of Flynn's previous works. But, this one comes with a warning, with lessons to be learned. Compelling, clever, and accessible.
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was ok

Tomorrow, or
the day after, I'll press my

mouth to your scar & run
my tongue along it

so I can taste how you were once
opened, so I can know where

you never closed.
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Yes, Nick Flynn, you will. You did. You will always. America's greatest living poet. ...more
Khashayar Mohammadi
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have a love/hate relationship with Nick Flynn, but this collection held one of my favorite poems of his
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Picked this up from a Goodreads rec after reading through all of the work of Jeffrey McDaniel, and I would say they are comparable. He has an edgy wit backed up by compelling life stories. Plus he's married to Lili Taylor and she's a pretty cool cat. Looking forward to reading more. ...more
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-favorites
Maybe closer to 4 stars but when I began reading it the one-two punch of "Balcony" followed by "Poem to be Whispered by the Bedside of a Sleeping Child" took my breath away with such force that I said that it was an automatic 5 star rating for me. I had to stop and reread each of them several times, share them with friends... These two poems are Flynn at his most forceful - freaking brilliant.

That is not to discount the rest of the book. I personally feel that the first section is the strongest
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My version of coping with absurdly horrifying news includes reading poetry. This collection was pretty terrific.
Nov 08, 2019 added it
Is it refreshing to read a poem with references, not to ancient gods, heroines, or myths, but, instead, to pop musicians and the horror and sci-fi films of 30 years ago?
Flynn’s work reminds me of the fragility of our existence. We are always a breath away from being undone, by our trauma or someone else’s. Flynn reminds us of that precarity, at turns, abruptly, rationally, with grace, and always with a little mystery.
There are probably as many gods and myths as there are rock stars and films...
Sep 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I don't know the best way to read poetry. There are poems and better yet, single lines in this work that are so beautiful and moving and stick with me still. The entire collection, read in one sitting, was too much. Too private, too personal, too much like well-crafted therapy, which leads me to conclude that I am not taking this in in the right amounts.

The writing is beautiful and interesting and visceral.
C. Varn
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Equal parts Augustine, parts pop culture detritus, Nick Flynn writes with anger about developing into middle age: love, alcoholism, his mother's suicide, the loss of a childhood home, and his daughter all permeate the book. Yet the anger doesn't feel middle-aged exactly, Flynn also likes to remix and rebuild: gods and monsters, classical references, and sci-fi films and punk rock ethos. Flynn wants art to be redemptive even if it emerging from a mock of pain and darkness.

Ben Niespodziany
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rebuilding, remolding, reflection. Flynn's collections (and memoirs) are always heavy and this one is no different. These poems will gut you, drag you down the street, and throw you on your knees, where you will form the most wondrous prayer, a mantra that was within you all along.

A favorite here is "Pied Piper":
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I stayed with many of these -- "Killdeer" for instance-- because they held so much inside them. Curled up and tender. And "Amanuensis" (love the idea of it) and then "Parrot" (oh my god the title) -- and loved that it wasn't until the notes that I learned of the rules and games Nick was playing to make these. ...more
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was ok
I was kind of surprised to see this collection so highly rated, but to each their own. I struggled to appreciate this collection, which seems steeped in a kind of aimless rage. Many of the poems were dull and felt underbaked. In particular, the attitudes extended toward women were off-putting, narrow, and felt confined to the speaker's personal immaturity and egotism. It just wasn't for me. ...more
Apr 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, addiction
Nick Flynn's poems have a muscular style full of anger, love, sorrow and regret. There is a raw intensity of a life informed by addiction and the full knowledge of death, beauty and the fragility of life. ...more
Anatoly Molotkov
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"...Others live//inside those windows// that line the shore, held inside/ by lightbulbs. Out here// we are the light, out here the salt/ holds us." Beautiful and painful work from Nick Flynn, as always. ...more
Chris Roberts
Sep 11, 2019 rated it did not like it

The artist creates second-hand reality,
i.e., creation is wholly dependent on observation,
art lacks every verity, it is a bastardized construct.


Chris Roberts, God Endlessly
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
This was the second poetry book I've read by this author, and I couldn't put this one down either. ...more
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another fine collection by one of the best poets writing in our time.
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not great...
Antonio Delgado
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Voices echoe the words of cultural resonance and the past of nostalgic voices at the expectation of a better future, which is still to become perceptible.
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Probably his sharpest collection yet. I love Nick Flynn’s work but his memoirs have always connected with me more than his poems. This one left me pretty much speechless.
Courtney LeBlanc
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I liked this collection of poems by Nick Flynn -- I'm not sure anything will ever top Some Ether, his first book of poetry. This collection talks about love and fidelity, alcoholism, his mother's death, the burning down of his childhood home and his daughter.

from Balcony: "The one promise I / can make is that I'm staying / even though what knocks on our / door at night has at its heart only / my getting lost, even though / some part of it wants me dead,"

from Sleeping Beauty: "Even the fire retu
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of these poems did destroy me! I love this book and his writing is visceral, insightful and penetrating.
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Sep 30, 2019
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Nick Flynn is an American poet, memoirist, and playwright.

His most famous book is a memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. He has published two collections of poetry: Blind Huber, and Some Ether, which won the inaugural PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Further honors include a 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2001 Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Sc

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