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A troubled mother with a drug problem who ultimately commits suicide, her menacing boyfriends, and a wayward father populateAand come to dominateAFlynn's debut. In these 48 free verse narratives and lyrics framing a plain American vernacular, memory can seem almost a compulsion: "I don't want// to remember her/ reaching up for a kiss, or the television// pouring its blue bodies into her bedroom." Though many of the poems' recollections are considerably starker than these, Flynn never becomes overly graphic or macabre with this potentially overwhelming material, skirting unbridled confessionalism or mawkish sentimentality through quick successions of imagery. The drawback in Flynn's approach, however, is that it limits the poems to dramatization and description, and provides little room for more complex characterizations or insights about the small-scale tragedies depicted. Charged figurative language does make its way in, however, sometimes touched with surrealism. Such dazzling surface effects sometimes come off as mannered and opportunistic, as in a stylized dramatic monologue of the mother handling her gun, "the hard O of its mouth/ made of waiting, each bullet/ & its soft hood of lead. Braced// solid against my thigh, I'd feed it/ with my free hand, my robe open// as if nursing, practicing/ my hour of lead, my letting go." Flynn occasionally departs from such dramas, but the dark tone and themes of loss and impermanence persist through recurrent references to disastersAplane crashes, shipwrecks, floodsAthat can't quite expand the range of the poems. This first collection nevertheless presents an earnest sounding out of painful losses, and an honest feeling out of survival and selfhood. (June)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This first collection is almost frightening in its honesty and reckless passion. Flynn writes tough, sad poetry that addresses a difficult childhood and a mother's suicide with unblinking faith that simply saying one's pain can tether it. There are droplets of bright, beautiful language throughout, as when "ghost stars convincingly stutter." Finally, one agrees with the author when he avows "infused with grace, by own voice/ floods the darkness."
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Most of the poems in this book are about life with his mother, who committed suicide when he was young, and there are also some about his father, who was homeless. Read morePublished 20 months ago by k lewis loess
Was recommended this book, and in writing my own manuscript of poems, was eager to dive into it. I really needed some support from my writing elder. Read morePublished on May 5, 2011 by Elena
I regret having missed the opportunity to meet Nick Flynn, as he was signing books and giving a lecture about "Some Ether" at the state college where I live. Read morePublished on January 27, 2006 by J from NY
This may be considered a bias review since I had a class under Nick Flynn's wing, but unlike my other professors, his poetry is deeply resounding and touching. Read morePublished on January 19, 2005 by Advance Syndrome
I read this book as one of the several assigned to me before a writing conference. I'm not really a fan of poetry. Read morePublished on April 20, 2003 by Todd Sullivan
This is quite simply one of the sappiest, self-serving collections of poetry to be published in the past 5 years or so in America. It is AWFUL.Published on December 1, 2001
I think Nick Flynn's first book is absolutely stunning. It's the best lyrical poetry I've read in a while. Read morePublished on September 8, 2001
i read this book. i thought it was self-centered and boring and does nothing with the form. these are pretty poems about bad things. Read morePublished on July 5, 2001
Actually I'm more amused by the comments of some of these readers than I am by the poetry itself. The work is cliche. Read morePublished on June 7, 2001