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Ooga-Booga: Poems by Frederick Seidel

Ooga-Booga: Poems

by Frederick Seidel

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These poems are definitely not for the prudish or the fainthearted. Seidel's poems are raw, savage, fearless, with a lyrical beauty that makes the whole collection twisted. He writes about what horrifies many with musical bluntness. A wild ride from start to finish.

"While I can think of a more likable book of poems, I ca scarcely imagine a better one..." Alex Halberstadt, New York ( )
  est-lm | May 3, 2014 |
I'll make this quick. This is a book of modern poetry. I'd read a bunch of glowing reviews of Seidell's work. Some used words like: Decadent, satirical, jaded, wicked wit; even "delightfully barbed tongue". One reviewer even called Seidell the "Baudelaire of our times." After reading a claim like that, my interest had been piqued, so I picked it up. However, I found these reviewers left our a few more apt descriptions like: boring, name-dropper, pretentious, scatter-brained, forcedly political and tedious. I didn't find his poetry to my liking at all. It was like the ravings of a bratty 23 year old English major (only Seidell is middle-aged). It held absolutely nothing for me. In fact, it made me wonder if that one particular reviewer had even read Baudelaire. Perhaps he's just into name-dropping too. It's not even experimental enough to be interesting structurally. ( )
1 vote Dead_Dreamer | Jan 12, 2010 |
A compadre of mine got it just right: the most fruitful way to understand Frederick Seidel's poetry is "by seeing him as some kind of wealthy Roman patrician, commenting on the declining empire." The difference is that few Roman patricians (and probably, now that James Merrill is gone, no contemporary patricians other than Seidel) were as skillful with a pen, as witty, and as irreverent as this poet. Another way to understand Seidel might be to imagine what would have happened if Simon Raven actually were a patrician, and rich, and wrote poetry. This is a book to remind us how fun—and unsettling—poetry can be.
1 vote dcozy | Dec 7, 2009 |
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In Seidel’s poetry, privilege and wealth do not effectively insulate the speaker from third-world genocide, terrorism, and starvation; quite the opposite—those horrors are amplified. One could read many thriving American poets and not know that there is a world outside the daily suburban routine of the poet, much less one in which war and deprivation define the lives of whole populations. In this respect, Seidel, as glib as he might seem in any given line, is more engaged with the state of the world than most American poets. Further, the excesses outlined in the poems cannot truly be considered remarkable in a nation where obesity is epidemic and pornography a multi-billion dollar industry.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374530971, Paperback)

"The best American poet writing today"* 
"The title itself--a parody of a threat, something the monster under the bed might grunt--manages to capture the weird dialectic of Mr. Seidel's black comedy: He is scary, but funny, but still scary . . . You would have go back to confessional masters like Lowell and Berryman to find poetry as daringly self-revealing, as risky and compelling, as the best of Frederick Seidel's." --*Adam Kirsch, The New York Sun

"The poems in Ooga-Booga are [Seidel's] richest yet and read like no one else's: They're surreal without being especially difficult, and utterly unpretentious, suffused with the peculiar American loneliness of Raymond Chandler . . . [The poem 'Barbados'] is the loveliest Seidel has written to date, and he's perfected the subtle rhythms and rhymes that rocket the stanzas forward like his Ducati 916 SPS. While I can think of a more likable book of poems, I can scarcely imagine a better one." --Alex Halberstadt, New York magazine

"[Ooga-Booga is] as beguiling and magisterial as anything [Seidel] has written. I can't decide whether Seidel has more in common with Philip Larkin or John Ashbery, but the fact that he can prompt such a bizarre question is more revealing than any possible answer." --Joel Brouwer, The New York Times Book Review

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:19 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Seidel grips the 20th century between his teeth like a blade as he speaks. He is one of the more formidable poets of the last third of the century. This is a collection of his poetry. Originally published: New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006.

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