"Mr. Robbins's heart is not lovely but beating a bit arrhythmically; not dark but lighted by a dangling disco ball; not deep but as shallow and alert as a tidal buoy facing down a tsunami. Yet it's a heart crammed full, like a goose's liver, with pagan grace. This man can write.... What puts his poems over is their sheer joy and dizzy command.... Reading Mr. Robbins's best stuff makes you feel something new is being flogged into existence.... He has a sky-blue originality of utterance.
" -- Dwight Garner, The New York Times"It's in his rhymes -- polysyllabic, serial, audacious -- that Robbins most resembles an M.C., and most distinguishes himself from other poets. He seems at least as interested in arranging sequences of identical vowel sounds as he is in getting consonants to agree. When he pairs 'Beckett' with 'cricket,' he sounds like Paul Muldoon, but when he rhymes 'Parkinson's,' 'Arkansas,' and 'dark clicks on,' he's channeling Jay-Z." -- The New York Times Book Review"Robbins is abrupt, conversational, surreal, and sarcastic - a wiseguy with vulnerability. Many of his poems end on a note of sadness or despair in a way that suggests what preceded it was an attempt by the speaker to put on a brave front, to man up or gut it out. But it's a measure of how well-crafted Robbins' poems are that he does a good job of conveying just what's a put-on and what's meant to be taken seriously." -- Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly
From the Back Cover
"These poems are viciously inventive. Faster than you can rhyme stegosaur/megastore, Robbins code-switches between the English Canon and Top Forty: Nirvana and Blake, The Clash and Yeats, creating a political and social commentary that will make the hair stand on your head." -- Ange Mlinko
"You may notice the cultural references first -- Guns N' Roses, Eric B. & Rakim, Fleetwood Mac, M*A*S*H
, Star Wars
-- and be tempted to tie Robbins to these anchors. But there are as many contemporary references in Eliot and Pound and Horace as there are in Robbins: carbon-dating isn't what distinguishes these poems. Robbins works in traditional and nontraditional forms that pivot on the beat, which he turns around, seamlessly and ruthlessly. The thread here is a long-distance conversation crammed into the available enjambment, as charged as the pop songs that play beneath the words." -- Sasha Frere-Jones
"From the wild mixture of pop-culture and the English poetic tradition arises the voice -- brave, direct, brilliant, arrogant, unforgettable voice -- of a poet whom Catullus would recognize, whom Mayakovsky would welcome. This is a poetics that whips up the tradition and lashes 'a slap in the face of public taste.' Robbins is unafraid to bring back vulgarity -- that saving, generous, musical vulgarity which abruptly awakens us from our longish sleep-time in America. Yes, Michael Robbins is a rascal. The sort of rascal Francois Villon used to be. He takes no prisoners. His music is brutal -- and also intricate, rigorous, unpredictable. Mothers of America! let your kids read some of this wild, brave, real verse." -- Ilya Kaminsky