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Fancy Beasts Paperback – March 16, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Milkweed Editions; 1 edition (March 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571314431
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571314437
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #780,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Full of raw energy, up-to-date in its slang and its jump cuts, effervescent with the playfulness and sometimes the angers of youth, the third collection from Lemon (Hallelujah Blackout) conveys a likable, outsized personality; it should also work well in tandem with the Texas-based poet's forthcoming memoir, Happy (Scribner, 2010), which describes his fast descent and striking recovery, as a young adult, from shocking and sudden brain injury. Saying yes to everything/ Does not mean you need// To grunt at each person/ Who says hello: so begins a poem called We Could Boom Boom, sounding at once a joke and a warning. Let me be your guiding fright, your/ Highway to the comfort zone, another poem requests; around that invitation Lemon arranges both a love poem and a depiction of suicide. Champions will praise the verve that lets the poet imagine himself In the presence/ Of dynamite./ Deserving of/ Everything. The strikingly terse sequence entitled only !! makes a welcome, if sometimes frightening, change of pace. It also alludes, apparently, to his brain injury: The fun park inside (that is, inside his skull) Is being/ Renovated.// Bellwether./ Blackened eyes. But such gravities are exceptions: delights, and shocks, are the rule. Like Tony Hoagland, Lemon is often self-conscious about the volatilities his poems convey, about their almost giddy tonalities, but he will not apologize for himself: adult life is a scary gift, a fast trip, a set of close encounters with this fizzing pier life. (Mar.)
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Review

"A master of negative empathy, Lemon spelunks through the brain's darker convolutions and clearly enjoys testing the reader's limits.
Library Journal, starred review

"Full of raw energy, up-to-date in its slang and its jump cuts, effervescent with the playfulness and sometimes the angers of youth, the third collection from Lemon conveys a likable, outsized personality." —Publishers Weekly

"Life cleverly and joyfully rages in Alex Lemon's poems."—Major Jackson

"Alex Lemon dazzles us with his ability to slice straight through nerve and marrow on his way to the heart and mind of the matter."—Tracy K. Smith

"Fancy Beasts is a terrific book by one of the best younger poets at work today."—Kevin Prufer

"This book will likely appeal most to twenty-somethings with an emo/hipster bent, but even older readers will be impressed by Lemon’s calculated audacity."—Library Journal (starred review)

"Full of raw energy, up-to-date in its slang and its jump cuts, effervescent with the playfulness and sometimes the angers of youth, the third collection from Lemon (Hallelujah Blackout) conveys a likable, outsized personality; it should also work well in tandem with the Texas-based poet's forthcoming memoir, Happy (Scribner, 2010). Like Tony Hoagland, Lemon is often self-conscious about the volatilities his poems convey, about their almost giddy tonalities, but he will not apologize for himself: adult life is a scary gift, a fast trip, a set of close encounters with 'this fizzing pier life.'"—Publishers Weekly

More About the Author

Alex Lemon is a poet and memoirist. He is the author of Happy (Scribner), the poetry collections Mosquito (Tin House Books), Hallelujah Blackout (Milkweed Editions), Fancy Beasts (Milkweed Editions) and the chapbook At Last Unfolding Congo (horse less press). His writing has appeared in Esquire, Best American Poetry 2008, Satellite Convulsions, Tin House, The Bloomsbury Review, The Southern Review, AGNI and jubilat, among others. Among his awards are a 2005 Literature Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and a 2006 Minnesota Arts Board Grant. He is co-editor of LUNA: A Journal of Poetry and Translation and is a frequent book reviewer. He teaches at Texas Christian University and lives digitally at www.alexlemon.com.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Neg Cap on May 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Alex Lemon's work here is energetic and highly playful with language, full of small surprises and twists on familiar idioms. His ability to hold the tension between serious, cramped little meditions and the airy exhilaration of wit and acrobatic turns is to be admired. At once accessible and cryptic, these poems invite multiple reads as well as a smirk of pleasure and recognition throughout. The class clown is also a classic clown, pointing to tragedy with antics and muscularity and sometimes great beauty.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on September 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
Pick any year, and you'll find plenty absurd, but 2008 seemed especially special. "Fancy Beasts" is a collection of poems from Alex Lemon, as he brings a focus to this year, with poems attacking everything form commercialism to politics, and so much more. "Fancy Beasts" is a pick that should not be missed, very highly recommended. "All of the Made Roads": Choosing/my life, I drop//quarters in/the slot//& select/the worst//song on/the jukebox//& then sneak/out to//Watch/Through the rain-//streaked glass./O feverish//Praise -- I can/Feel night//Struggle/to Lay//Back in/its own dark.
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