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Jimmy & Rita

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  187 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
A tough, edgy collection of poetry that follows the lives of two young people, caught in a snare of heroin and speed, physical abuse, rogue sex, tw -bit jobs they can't hold, and rough streets they can't escape from. Haunted by their childhoods of material and emotional poverty, Jimmy and Rita float through days in urban San Francisco.
Paperback, 88 pages
Published November 1st 1996 by BOA Editions
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Janie C.
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Needles, seedy bars and broken childhoods connect the lives that Kim Addonizio introduces us to. Noisy shelters, strip joints and cheap rooms with sheets for curtains set the scenes. This is the true world of tough love and futureless dreams. A gripping collection of poems woven from tears and scars.
Jul 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes good poetry
An amazing novel-in-verse.

So resonant, honest and lucid as to be almost frightening.

Undoubtedly, some savvy producer will one day make "Jimmy and Rita" into a feature film. It has the feel of a great poetry collection and screenplay wrapped into one.

A must read for any admirer of Kim Addonizio's work.
Feb 24, 2009 rated it liked it
The pieces in this collection tell the story of Rita and Jimmy, a young couple struggling with identity, drugs and sexuality.

The point of view is intriguing, as the voice moves between 1st person/3rd person. There are some beautiful, haunting images.

I would recommend this book to people who do not typically like poetry, as it reads much like a collection of short stories.

May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Gritty and hard but I'll be damned if I didn't shoot it straight, right down my throat.
Scott Cozad
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Verse novel. A brutal story about love and addiction.
Theresa Senato Edwards
Jun 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Remember Kim Addonizio’s verse novel, Jimmy & Rita?

I do! And it’s still “Silk” in my book.

I’ve used it in a couple of my classes at Marist College, and I’ve written about a few of the poems in the collection. I have to be honest; it’s a phenomenal poetry book and a raw and moving verse novel for adults. Even Addonizio’s “sequel” to Jimmy & Rita (BOA Editions, 1997), her novel My Dreams Out in the Street, (Simon & Schuster, 2007) just doesn’t live up to the wonderful language and unco
Diann Blakely
Whitman's famous proclamation "Through me the many long dumb voices," depending on how it strikes the ear, echoes either with self-aggrandizement, a song that appropriates everything within shouting distance to swell its own puny notes, or with self-erasure, negative capability yawped with a barbarously American accent. The latter inflects the various voices of JIMMY & RITA, the second full-length collection by Kim Addonizio, whose THE PHILOSOPHER'S won the 1994 Great Lakes' New Writer Award ...more
May 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, verse-novels
Unlike many verse novels, this stands up as poetry. At less than 90 pages, the story is a thin slice of the lives of Rita and Jimmy, who live hard lives, love each other while moving closer and further apart. Fans of Ellen Hopkins may move onto this eventually, but Addonizio isn't as generous with narrative. Hopkins tells a story; Addonizio hints at hers. Readers have to connect the dots, piecing together the story from bits and shards.

The explicit nature of the book will make it unlikely for m
Patti K
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This 2000 volume of poetry was a finalist for the National Book Award and I can see why.
It is a book-length study of a couple of lovers, working-class and very poor. A portrait
of the sometimes limited options for under-educated young people. It is cinematic in scope
as every detail feels palpable and vividly present. Quite a feat I think to sustain such
effort throughout the young trajectory of these two lives.
May 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ME!
Recommended to Meen by: Garrison Keillor
2/2010: Do you know how much I love this? I can't even begin to tell you what "good" poetry is or isn't. I just know this touched me deeply, and that's "good" enough for me.

2/2010: Finally got it!!! Woot! Squee! And all other internet expressions of joy!

11/2008: I WANT this book!!!!! I heard one of the poems ("Shelter") on the Writer's Almanac on NPR and was totally devastated by it.

Did I say I MUST have this book????
Stephen Kiernan
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I think I've now read every book of poetry by this wise, fearless chronicler of the blues. If there's one I've missed, I'll go get it.

These are characters we love for all their flaws, and root for, and watch make bad choices, and yet we turn the page and want more. I can't think of another poet writing today who makes me yearn so deeply for her subjects' redemption, however small or short-lived it may be.
Ann Michael
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
She's an amazing writer who is not afraid of risks (all types). This book just isn't my favorite. Perhaps it's just the subject matter is hard for me to take...but I don't think that's the reason (look at what else I read...).
Maybe I need to re-read it and re-assess the poems and the narrative. I really enjoy most of her work.
Malcolm Alexander
Jul 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
This cycle of poems tells a somewhat interesting, somewhat banal story of an obviously doomed relationship. As poetry I wasn't that impressed. I think this would have made a better novel than a book of poems.
Oct 13, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: heartless zombies who still read poetry
This is a brutal little story in verse about two herion-addicted alcoholics in love.
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Jimmy & Rita is a gritty and raw verse novel. Some of my favorite moments include:
What Happened
Smaller Each Day
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Author of several poetry collections including Tell Me, a National Book Award Finalist. My Black Angel is a book of blues poems with woodcuts by Charles D. Jones, from SFA Press. The Palace of Illusions is a story collection from Counterpoint/Soft Skull. A New & Selected, Wild Nights, is out in the UK from Bloodaxe Books.

2016 publications: Mortal Trash, new poems, from W.W. Norton, awarded the
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