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The Second Sex (Poets, Penguin) Paperback – September 30, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Robbins is a perfect poet for right now: mean, shrewd, brusque and rude. Totally necessary." -- Emily Gould, Paper

"Michael Robbins is our contemporary poet laureate for beautiful sins of language..... The Second Sex is a confident, skillful work that will make readers reconsider poetry." -- The Millions


"Michael Robbins is the most interesting new American poet in a long time....  The Second Sex doesn't fit in any of the boxes with which Enlightened Opinion c. 2014 sorts things out. There are 36 poems in this new collection, and not a wasted word." -- Books & Culture

"[Robbins's] lines [are] as memorable as any in recent American poetry." -- The New Republic

"In The Second Sex, one of the best collections of 2014, Robbins begins to shake Seidel the way Seidel eventually shook Lowell. The results are formidable." -- Flavorwire

"Robbins's Alien vs. Predator (2012) captured a large audience with its young, fresh voice rich in nuance, melancholy, and audacity. His second title possesses even more attitude, more self-deprecation, more wisdom. The book is rock 'n' roll, political and not, timely, and lyrical. These 36 poems reveal Robbins' critical eye as he takes in the peripheral and delivers tough revelations." -- Booklist


"An abundance of names worthy of VH1 Classic invade and transform the literary classics throughout Robbins's peppy, irritable set ... He depicts himself, 'alone with my cat,' as a would-be star, a reluctant indie intellectual, and a sadly typical, frustrated American straight guy: 'I make the beast with no backs.' ... Robbins is also a talented, prolific critic, and his fans may anticipate the synergy, or just line up for more of his verse." -- Publishers Weekly

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Praise for Alien vs. Predator
selected as a best book of the year by:
The New York Times * The Boston Globe * Slate * The New York Observer * Commonweal *  The Millions *
 
"Robbins's poetry is quick as thought, as Constance Rourke might have put it ... it might be more true to say Robbins's poetry is thought, or rather a mind alive but not thinking at all, a jumble of memory and stimuli and distractions and it's-on-the-tip-of-my-tongue, never mind, a roaring in the head of someone talking to someone else while what he's really doing is talking to himself, but barely listening, and having the time of his life."
            --Greil Marcus, The Believer
 
"This man is not here to improve us. He's here to turn us on. This is a linguistic booty call.... 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
 
"Every once in a while, a book appears as if out of nowhere, uncanny in its authority, combining the shock of the new with the shock of recognition. Michael Robbins's Alien vs. Predator has given me a sense of what early readers of The Waste Land must have felt in 1922, what it must have been like to pick up a copy of Wise Blood at the bookstore in 1952."
            --John Wilson, Commonweal
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Product Details

  • Series: Poets, Penguin
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (September 30, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143126644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143126645
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #762,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jim L on February 8, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Maybe not as uniformly brilliant as Alien vs. Predator, Second Sex still delivers its share of too-clever-by-half profundity, born of reworkings of tag lines from the classics, rock lyrics, double entendres and pop ephemera in new and hilariously rhymed patterns. You could compare this to Burroughs cut-up writing but Robbins' method isn't aleatory, it aims to clarify by pastiche rather than derange by collage. He has something of Frederick Seidel without Ducatis and debauchery and a love of wordplay that's likely to bring exasperated clucks of disgust from po-faced poetasters. But he's onto something entertaining and memorable and like Seidel or Kleinzahler, his poetry offers the joys of a sharp-witted commentary rather than self-absorbed rhetoric.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jill Jones on October 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Michael Robbins's "Alien vs. Predator" was, without question, my favorite book of poetry of the last 50 years—until this one. "The Second Sex" is a subtle and sly collection that reads like a novel—or, no—a fully-realized night of dreams. It's beautiful, tart, furious. I read it again and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Derek Ellis on April 15, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderfully constructed poems! Robbins is a master of his craft and this book certainly shows it! Buy it. Read it. Then re-read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Edward McCrorie on July 22, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
He is a drastically new and bold writer with a smart memory of his predecessors, an often outrageous humor, and mastery of the oldtime tactics such as internal rhyme. Read him aloud to friends and get them dancing!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Casey on April 2, 2015
Format: Paperback
comedy in poetry isn't respected enough. these poems are formally well-crafted light verse that isn't light. what is telling about the collection is the dedication to Bill Knott, a poet whose writing was deft comedic profundity. Robbins does well to pay homage to Knott's style & avoiding the self-consciously maudlin tones of Charles Simic
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