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Some Ether: Poems by Nick Flynn
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Some Ether: Poems

by Nick Flynn

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I really enjoyed Flynn's "another bullshit night in suck city: A memoir" and naturally assumed that sense and style of prose would follow henceforth in a book of poetry. For the most part, Flynn stuck to his guns writing directly from his guts and heart no matter the outcome. As with most poetry, the words are just a guideline, the reader creates the imagery and meaning from the words in front of them.

The meaning I got from at least 80% of the poems in this book, was complete and on uncontrollable sorrow. Incredibly severe abandonment issues, coupled with the unappreciation of life, an a complete obsession with death.

I really enjoyed "Radio Thin Air" feeling that this was the most thought out poem in the entire book. Flynn still has quite a few books of poetry out, that I would be interested in reading. I would recommend this book to anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one, or severe depression. ( )
  Joseph_Stelmaszek | Nov 29, 2015 |
These are very sensitive subjects. It's like watching surgery. There were no surprises here. If you want life and death, it's here. If you want pain and suffering, it's here. Flynn's a fine poet. He writes beautifully, There are some great images. He has this really soft touch that just doesn't prepare me for his cuts - the drugs, the sex. It feels like watching accidents on the tv news. I like my poetry a little more analytical. I found about half these poems to be genuinely memorable images. The rest of them just made me wince.
  mobill76 | Apr 22, 2014 |
This is a stunning debut, a collection of beautiful and sometimes painful poems. The poet writes of his mother's suicide and his encounter with his homeless father while working in a shelter. The style is contemporary, and the material difficult, so it won't be to everyone's liking, but I think it's a fantastic work. ( )
  Laura400 | Aug 10, 2011 |
I went out on a limb and bought a book of poetry based on the goodreads star rating of someone I don't know who seemed to have decent taste in obscure literature. Plus, I am trying to make an effort to read living poets who write in English.

Of Flynn's first four poems, three were about suicide, two referenced guns, two referenced painkillers (by brand name) and one mentions cutting himself. It only got worse from there. Blah blah "my father is . . . a bottle wrapped in a paperbag" blah blah "shelters,/ shitsville" blah blah "I eat all her percodans, to know/ how far they can take me, because/ they are there." blah blah "she could whisper the wordburn/& I'd turn to ash.."Seriously?

This book strengthened all of the dismissive, prejudiced opinions that I hold about modern American poetry and how completely pathetic and unworth reading it is. This guy has been published all over the place and awarded several prizes. If I had just researched him enough to realize that he actually published a "memoir" called "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City" I would have suspected that he has no business writing poetry.

There is rarely a reason for his language not to be presented in paragraph form as bad prose. It is rarer for him to use italics effectively--though he seems to think they have a place in most of his poems. The language itself is thin. He is too busy seeking to legitimize his composed proximity to suffering and ruin by cheap association with narcotics, suicide, violence and alienation to actually attend to the sort of details and feelings that make poetry real. His love poems show this shortcoming particularly ("my tongue opened you &/ soft birds let loose their grip on the earth" "like whiskey his kiss like whiskey/ tear away at the skin"--he can't even write a good poem about a girl eating a peach.).

I only read the whole book because I had purchased it new, because it was short and because I wanted to have a solid foundation from which to offer criticism. However, on a note that will hardly balance this review, his first two epigrams were very well chosen and I enjoyed "Emptying Town" enough to make two friends read it (for the chuckle value of the closer--not for the unimportant first stanza or the melodramatic second) and "The cellar machine whirring through the night" seems to be about as good as he can write.

Avoid. ( )
  fieldnotes | Nov 11, 2008 |
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