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Crush by Richard Siken
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Siken’s Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out gets a reasonable amount of circulation in my circles, and it’s a good example of Siken’s pained humor. (“I can tell already you think I’m the dragon,
that would be so like me, but I’m not. I’m not the dragon…. but the princess looks into her mirror and only sees the princess,
while I’m out here, slogging through the mud, breathing fire,
and getting stabbed to death.
Okay, so I’m the dragon. Big deal.”). Siken writes about the body, about the desperate imposition of sexual desire, about danger always lurking, about the desire to die. Louise Glück’s introduction is perfect, unsurprisingly: “This is a book about panic…. [T]he speaker is never outside it long enough to differentiate panic from other states. In the world of Crush, panic is a synonym for being: in its delays, in its swerving and rushing syntac, its frantic lists and questions, it fends off time and loss.” There are a number of repeated images: bullets, blood, road trips, brothers, green-eyed lovers, and other obsessions of Americana. (“There’s a bottle of whiskey in the trunk of the Chevy and a dead man at our feet/staring up at us like we’re something interesting.This is where the evening/splits in half, Henry, love or death. Grab an end, pull hard, and make a wish.”) Highly recommended, even though I don’t know how to write about poetry. ( )
1 vote rivkat | Mar 24, 2014 |
There are few poets I've found with the narrative skill and stylised descriptions of this book. The pace is frantic, and unforgiving, the emotions portrayed brutal and violent and paced with a rhythm that does not let the reader go before the last stanza. Siken draws a fibre-fine line between love and the obession that goes with it, and I cannot recommend this enough. ( )
1 vote EnsignBlueshirt | Jun 11, 2011 |
I'm grateful for the half-star option. This book floored me, utterly, and I recommend it to all. ( )
  rmariem | Feb 10, 2010 |
My favorites:

Dirty Valentine
You Are Jeff
Straw House, Straw Dog
Wishbone ( )
  valerieloveland | Sep 16, 2009 |
Siken's Crush, his first book which also won the Yale Young Poets' award in 2004, is one of he most complete works of poetry I've come across in years.

He uses the pacing of his long line to slow time, and create a darker atmosphere within the verse, where shadows move from walls and creep along the legs of lovers. Time drags in elongated moments, or appears in flashes of memory and scenescape. His pace and image teach us fight from the first two pages how to read the work, and how to prepare yourself for the worlds of panic, death, and love which are to come. Siken reminisces in sadness and joy, madness and damagingly clear thought. He pairs image and notion with time and yearning. There is beauty in the voice and damage of this book.

Siken's poems are punk rock anthems, old country ballads, 60's B-movies, pulp novels, tin pail lunch boxes stuffed with old polaroids and love letters. His poems progress to a down tempo drum beat, and the skill in line break leaves the reader constantly moving forward, the combination forces us to digest and contemplate the words as they come, but never let up a moment for us to stop chewing. It's almost dumbfounding how Siken combines the long breath of a Ginsberg with the complete, unornamental word choice of a Creeley.

Crush is a project in obsession. The repetition of pacing and break builds on the down tempo into a culminating panic under the weight of body and the gravity of obsessive love. Siken has, within Crush, created a world of love and death, of paranoia, where voices drift in and out, where the self questions its other aloud, causing disbelief in the fact of the world even as it builds around us into existence. ( )
1 vote PatrickDuggan | Jul 29, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0300107897, Paperback)

Richard Siken’s Crush, selected as the 2004 winner of the Yale Younger Poets prize, is a powerful collection of poems driven by obsession and love. Siken writes with ferocity, and his reader hurtles unstoppably with him. His poetry is confessional, gay, savage, and charged with violent eroticism. In the world of American poetry, Siken's voice is striking.
In her introduction to the book, competition judge Louise Glück hails the “cumulative, driving, apocalyptic power, [and] purgatorial recklessness” of Siken’s poems. She notes, “Books of this kind dream big. . . . They restore to poetry that sense of crucial moment and crucial utterance which may indeed be the great genius of the form.”

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:51 -0400)

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Yale University Press

Two editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300107897, 0300107218

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