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The Day the World Ends: Poems by Ethan Coen

The Day the World Ends: Poems (edition 2012)

by Ethan Coen

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Title:The Day the World Ends: Poems
Authors:Ethan Coen
Info:Broadway (2012), Paperback, 128 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Day the World Ends: Poems by Ethan Coen



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Whoa. If you don't want to read scathing mockery of contemporary poems, don't read this. He is clever, of course.
  mermind | Feb 17, 2014 |
By Ethan Coen
Broadway Paperbacks, 121 pgs
Rating: 2

The Day the World Ends (Poems) is a thin (literally and figuratively) collection of poetry brought to us by Ethan Coen, celebrated writer of screenplays for movies such as Fargo, The Big Lebowski and Raising Arizona. What most of us don't know is that Mr. Coen has also published volumes of short stories and poems such as Gates of Eden: Stories and The Drunken Driver Has the Right of Way: Poems.

I have been a fan of Ethan Coen's films for years and I wish I could say that I had enjoyed his poetry. I wish I could say that he has broken new ground or made a contribution to the art form or was at the very least reaching for something, even something intangible. But alas, what we got is mediocre at best. I suspect that Mr. Coen's name gets him published when lesser mortals would not be. The Day the World Ends (Poems) has very little to offer. The huge majority of the pieces in this book are scatological, concerned with buttocks, genitalia, various and sundry sex acts and feces. There are pages and pages of limericks that might have been written by a 13-year-old boy, crass and profane.

BUT it wasn't all bad. I'd like to single out a couple of poems for further consideration. On Seeing Venice for the First Time is a spare, fitting tribute to the author's first visit to the city. He is almost speechless and it made me smile to think of him there, a sophisticated artist done in by the romance of Venice. To the English Language bows to the power of words, the power of naming and the comfort taken from knowing that someone else has felt the same as you feel and wrote it down and survived. This poem is a throw-away but has my favorite title: When My Marbles Have Left Me Will You Have?

So, I cannot recommend The Day the World Ends (Poems). Mr. Coen's short stories have garnered better reviews so you may want to try those. In the meantime, make some popcorn and turn on Netflix.

More about the author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethan_Coen

More from the publisher: http://www.randomhouse.com/crown/broadway-books/ ( )
  TexasBookLover | May 21, 2012 |
I am a huge fan of the Coen Brothers. I love their wicked sense of humor and range in filmmaking. Their ideas are creative and full of different kinds of fun and their movies are worth it. They're also kind of weird - the brothers and the movies. I like weird.

I didn't expect to review a book of poems by Ethan Coen, but April is National Poetry Month and when the copy was offered to me I couldn't resist. I figured this would be a good book to let hang around the house in various locations so I could read bits and pieces and think about what I thought. That Coen would be a good writer was a baseline assumption for me, but being a good poet is pretty different than being a good writer. Poetry tends to be crystalline in the ways that films and novels are not. It's all in the moment.

Lots of people think poetry is either stuffy and pretentious or always has to rhyme or must be about Love and Loss and Very Important Stuff. If you've ever read any poetry you should have figured out by now that poetry is a lot of different things as illustrated in Coen's The Day the World Ends, a book of poetry that is both deep and crude, beautiful and awkward. Sometimes it rhymes, sometimes it doesn't, and often it is referential - a play on other poets or famous poems.

I like some of this poetry, but I don't love it. I'm not sure Coen would be a published poet if he weren't a celebrity. Ultimately the book depends too much on gimmicks, tricks, and sheer shock value - a combination that works well in the movies (think Blood Simple) and not so well with poetry. It's worth a sample - some of the words are nice, but mostly it is what it is - a book titled The Day the World Ends published in 2012 (the year that the Mayan calendar ends and we all die as the last calendar pages turns us off the world) to promote National Poetry Month and to indulge in a bit of wordplay. Good, but not great. ( )
  kraaivrouw | Apr 29, 2012 |
The Day the World Ends by Ethan Coen, one half of the Coen Brothers film making team with great films under their belt like Brother, Where Art Thou? and No Country for Old Men, is a twisted and unexpectedly thoughtful collection in places. The limericks are bawdy and remind me of Christopher Moore‘s humorous prose, but less in the smart and sassy humor and more in the low-class bathroom humor sense. Necromancy Never Pays stated that the poetry in the volume is geared toward a male audience, and in most cases, that is true — particularly with the dirty limericks.

Read the full review: http://savvyverseandwit.com/2012/04/the-day-the-world-ends-by-ethan-coen.html ( )
  sagustocox | Apr 24, 2012 |
Does wisdom fret at what's in store
And boggle at what's gone before--
Or rather does it not, like us,
Do what it must, and nothing more?
And is there credo any know
More sound than that--to just adjust,
adjust, adjust, adjust, adjust,
And every trouble, worry, woe,
Ignore, ignore, ignore, ignore?

That's the second stanza of Coen's first poem (titled "We Sheep") in this short collection and not at all what I had expected. I thought it beautiful, Eliot-esque even.

From there it degenerates ("degenerates" sounds more negative than what I was going for) into coarser language for crasser subjects. The difference between the first and second poems is particularly shocking. My initial reaction was distaste, but once I got over the shock, I quite liked it. The sentiments expressed (and oftentimes the words used) were not beautiful, but the total product was--in an odd, twisted way. Coen covers such broad, bawdy subjects as picking up chicks, bestiality, and farts. Lots of farts. Also included are over a dozen pages of limericks. The cadences are sometimes a little off, but they had me giggling.

Between all of that roughness, there's the occasional beautiful poem whose unexpectedness just takes your breath away.

Poetry doesn't haven't to be stuffy. Poetry doesn't have to be so highbrow all the time. This is accessible poetry, rhythmic (and rhyming) poetry, poetry with something genius trying to get out, and I would recommend this collection to anyone who won't offend easily or take it too seriously.

Received through Goodreads First Reads. ( )
  Kara | Apr 4, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 030795630X, Paperback)

From one of the most inventive and celebrated filmmakers of the twentieth century, and co-creator of such classics as Fargo, No Country for Old Men, and True Grit, a collection of poems that offers humor and insight into an artist who has always pushed the boundaries of his craft.

Ethan Coen's screenplays have surprised and delighted international audiences with their hilarious vision and bizarrely profound understanding of human nature. This eccentric genius is revealed again in The Day the World Ends, a remarkable range of poems that are as funny, ribald, provocative, raw, and often touching as the brilliant films that have made the Coen brothers cult legends.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:02 -0400)

"Ethan Coen's screenplays have surprised and delighted international audiences with their hilarious vision and bizarrely profound understanding of human nature. This eccentric genius is revealed again in The Day the World Ends, a remarkable range of poems that are as funny, ribald, provocative, raw, and often touching as the brilliant films that have made the Coen brothers cult legends"--… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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