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4.11  ·  Rating details ·  383 ratings  ·  58 reviews
A fearless and uproarious litany of contentions and revelations on poetry and the poetic mind, continuing the charge against the sacred in contemporary poetry. Poemland alternates brilliantly between the deadpan, the spectacular, and the outrageous.

If you open your mouth to start to complain I will fill it with whipped cream . . .

There is a floating sadness nearby . . .

Paperback, 120 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Wave Books
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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  383 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Jan 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Book #2 in #BookTubeAThon2015.

(Read a book without letting go of it.)
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Almost aphoristic in nature...

Enraptured with the ellipsis, she is...

Most pages are but five lines...

And the conceit is bad girl talking about her poetry...

And other naughty stuff.
Apr 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
a real fuck you
Feb 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Jackie!
This is a poem of audience, ego and poems. It is hilarious. I love every line beginning “this is.” It is too bad I hate the words snarky and zingers because both words apply.

One BIG DEAL here is white space galore. No more of Minnis’ signature trails of ellipses. I love the trails of ellipses, but this is good too. And don’t get me wrong, there are ellipses; the dots appear in "respectable" sets of two or three.

The uniformity of this poem is intriguing. I am particularly interested in the black
Michael Vagnetti
Jan 22, 2012 rated it liked it
When you first get cotton candy out of the machine, it looks huge, mountainous. But it's inflated sucrose, half of it is something you don't eat, but breathe. Poemland is a kind of Disneyland, a Disneyville. It's not a polis, and definitely not a world. Poemland is wantable: it's eccentric platitudes uttered one conversational line at a time.

Do you actually want to go to Poemland? More than you want to go to Nicaragua, or caving in Tennessee?Poemland is an extinct, submerged island, dinosaurean.
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
read this on my 1.5 hour tube ride to work today. Instantly felt a little bit more free. One of the main things that draws me to poetry are the possibilities of momentary freedom. Through the ego to get out of the ego. The constrictive totalizing self! The anti-poetic! Skirting the market economy of the imperializing English novel this gives me something like the authenticity of conflicting emotions . . hm . . can poetry speak to the multiple you? This one did. All emptiness is form and all form ...more
Feb 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Alan by: Ariana Reines
"Now when I drive behind a Diesel-stinking bus
On the way to the university to teach
Stevens and Pound and Mallarmé
I am homesick for war."
~Karl Shapiro, Bourgeois Poet

I love Chelsey Minnis and I think she is one of the most gifted writers publishing.

The problem with this book is the same thing that is so interesting about it: It is an encrustation in the shape of itself, made of the hardened guano of it's own self-loathing. This book is a self-fellating object. It is Poemland only--and nowhere
Paul Klinger
Aug 09, 2009 rated it liked it
I learned that Chelsey Minnis' father is a dentist. That seemed to be the most important bit of information I got, and that was from the acknowledgments. Without a doubt, this is one of the most legible books I have read this year. So it will probably take over the world. You can read this thing in one sitting, which is invaluable. No kidding. I forget if it's here or elsewhere she is talking about Dorn being the master. Hmmm. I should look that up.

I guess what irritates me about this book and
Dec 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, small-press
A really nice, loose-feeling collection of poems that feels somewhere between one long poem with different movements and a collection of very short poems (each page has between four and eight lines on it, all of which end with the same ellipsis). I really enjoyed reading this once I got into the rhythm of it. It's funny and awkward and occasionally sexual and occasionally mundane, but pretty consistently readable and interesting. Definitely a good read and definitely something that warrants a se ...more
Jeff T.
Feb 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
picked up the gorgeous cloth as my final-lap awp splurge. the tabler told me the designer told her the full text of the book is printed on the dust jacket (different design than the trade). which is to say the text is spare; however, words are well chosen, direct but spoken from the side of the mouth. barbed and vulnerable. kinda pissed. i want to read it again.
Mar 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Writing deep in a surface way.
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the book I go back to when I'm stuck writing. Major love. Snarky & Marxist & anti-climactic & crap coming towards you on a conveyor belt.
Feb 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Subsumed by ego to destroy the ego! 3.5
mis fit
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Sarah Glen
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
A collection of poems that so relatably rejects the norms you know that you, like me, won't be able to resist annotating its margins with your own continuations of Minnis' thoughts. The perfect book for devouring in a park on vacation.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-poetry
Sep 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Apparently being monumentally pissed-off makes highly enjoyable poetry. I see a shining career in front of me.
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: college-books
Required reading for my Engish class: Reading and Writing about Texts
Aisha Durand
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
The peoms were short and interesting. There were a bunch of similies used by the author throughout each poem. It wasn't the kind of poetry I usually read but I can see why some people really love it.
Ben Niespodziany
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A stream of consciousness inside the mind of a compulsive and caffeinated poet. I enjoyed every page. Wave Books does no wrong. A great introduction into the work (and headspace) of Chelsey Minnis.
Oct 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading everybody's reviews of this book just now after having just finished the book. So many of these reviews were very astute! I think it's interesting that a large number of the reviews mentioned how obsessed with poetry itself the collection is (ahem! the title is Poemland!) and this was often the reason cited for liking/disliking the collection.

In a sense, Minnis is being a poet's poet here, and the reviewer that called this her "ars poetica" is dead-on; that is, we quali
Aug 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
The microreview I wrote for the Black Ocean blog

If you agree with Aristotle when he writes in the Poetics that “the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor” and that such mastery is “a sign of genius,” then you might also agree that Chelsey Minnis is a brilliant mastermind.

In her mirthful and melancholy fourth book Poemland, she writes, “The past should go away but it never does... / And it is like a swimming pool at the foot of the stairs...
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
read more of my reviews at

When I first read through this short collection of poems I didn't like it at all. Yet I couldn't quell my compulsion to immediately read through it again. The second time around I loved every word.

Minnis is a radically new category of poet. This category might only ever contain one poet. They at least appear to be semi-autobiographical, but rely heavily on absurd (and often disturbing) images. She uses similes where convention scream
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book was very enjoyable to read and very easy to follow and understand. Though there were plenty of quirky descriptions and phrases throughout, the poems were united by their commentary on the idea of "poetry." Some poems dealt with what poems should be, or what the specific poem was meant to evoke, or what the poet's work was. For example, on page 49, the speaker/poet explains: "This is hard work and soft work..." Many of the poems had an informative feel, as if it had a true purpose or me ...more
May 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Emotional in the best sense, and I say this after reading these other reviews. I don't agree with some of what Timothy Yu said, but am glad he liked the book, it's one of those books I want everyone to read.

There are so many unexpected tripwires along the way here, you've got to trip on them to know them. AND LET ME SAY TOO how happy I was to hear a poet unafraid of saying poems can be, even should be of use.

There's a torrent of anti-usefulness in poetry, none of it I believe in. In fact, even t
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
First off, this book is a kind of perfectly designed book. The repeating UPC image, the seemingly random division of the book into sections, the lack of titles and sense of order. All of these things lend to the sense here that Minnis is writing this as something to be sold, without any other reason for an existence. This is not to say that there are not a lot of good poems here. Many of the clashing images and scatter-shot messages are great. Some parts of the book seem linked, particularly the ...more
Rebecca Tassell
"Poemland" really confused me. Especially the black pages in between with the barcodes. At first I though that maybe each black page had a different number for the barcode, but then when I looked at it, all the barcode numbers were the same. This book is just taking up so much space, so much paper, and I feel that it really doesn't need to be. This is also the first book I've read where the poet talks so much about herself. Surprisingly, I liked this book, and I think it's because of the humorou ...more
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
I work at a college bookstore. Upon putting up shelf tags one day, I saw this book and it caught my eye by its strange cover.
I opened it up and read one poem. I was highly intrigued.

I went online when I got home and ordered the book.
It is a short book and only took maybe an hour to read.

My first impression: Wow this is an interesting form of poetry. I must keep reading this.
As I got further into the book, my impression changed. It was more of a -- What did I just read?

Now, I have never been
Jun 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
There are some really awesome lines in here:
"And it is a fistfight in the rain under a held umbrella"
The cry lines on page 115
"Life makes me sad. So sad that I walk down the street etc."
These times of lines are fantastic because of the raw simplicity of the language and emotional possibility/power behind them.

However, for every 1 of these great lines, 5 or 10 stuck out that were empty. Sure, they sounded cool, like the several about crotches, but what were they worth, what did they do? Nothing,
Apr 05, 2010 rated it did not like it
I couldn't stand this book. It is a relentless, "expensive joke," and ultimately an exquisitely constructed form with no meat hanging on it at all. Too dry.

The exquisite form is of a supermarket aisle filled with barbie dolls, or other such pink girls' toys, with all its packaging, constant commentary on reification and consumer fantasy style. Her fake enthusiasm and declarations about what things are like and what they are evoke the cloud of advertising that surrounds and defines this supermark
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Chelsey Minnis was born in Dallas and grew up in Denver. She attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is the author of Poemland (Wave Books 2009), Zirconia (Fence Books, 2001), Foxina (Seeing Eye Books, 2002) and Bad Bad (Fence Books, 2007). She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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“A poem is all that's left of my lost loneliness...

It is like a window that looks into a swimming pool...

Or an a empty gun indentation in velvet...

And a baby gazelle given as a gift...”
More quotes…