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The Other Guy Paperback – 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 16 pages
  • Publisher: Crisis Chronicles Press (2012)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009094R5Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,855,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Who hasn't, at one time or another, felt that we were living with a stranger? A stranger who inhabited our skin, shared our emotions, and gazed through our eyes. Who hasn't wondered why a certain ugly phrase erupted from our mouth, or a certain hurtful action was taken? Who hasn't said or done something contrary to our principles? Who hasn't felt just plain odd to be alive? This is the human condition. Identity is always in flux. No personality is set in cement. We are all immigrants from the void. The Other Guy is a collection of poems all centered on themes of madness, pain, and alienation. They're not cheerful poems, but they are occasionally redemptive. They're full of pathos and conciliatory beauty, the salvation of art. Pain cannot always be salved, but there is salvation in expressive richness. Pain has the potential for transcendence. It is emotional diesel, the requisite fuel for change. Alienation is fertile ground for a poet, rife with drama, primal emotion and paradox. It is no accident that one of the poems in this collection is titled "Rehabilitation."

Allen writes with a syllabic richness that reminds me of the British objectivist Basil Bunting. In the first poem, for instance, "Green's Serration," we find dense, highly charged lines such as "Smashing a sea glass bong / against thin white walls / he listens as minutes / bead in sharp blue / and green jagged ring stone." The density of these lines have a Teutonic, Old English feel to them. One imagines a modern day Beowulf wrestling Grendels of internal despair.
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Format: Paperback
If there is one way to decribe John Thomas Allen's approach to the problems of addiction and recovery in this superb book of poems, it would be that Allen is a graceful fighter. His rebellion against addiction and recovery is only the fighting part. What is so interesting is that Allen converts this invention into verses that are both elegant and graceful. The use of color in these poems, for example, is distinct among the wonderfully crafted verses that he gives us. His poems push the envelope. Allen has been able to combine both the fight and the grace of his work in an original way, and the results are spectacular. It keeps us in our seat, because with each continuing verse the heart of the fighter emerges in a way that excites and makes us want more and more of his high literary intensity. I recommend this book without reservation. Allen is one of the only true poets left that any lover of poetry is fortunate to have.
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Format: Paperback
"The Other Guy" is a fabulously grimy little collection, weighing in at 16 pages. Being one of the author's close friends, I can't help but be a little biased in his favor, but I do enjoy poetry from time to time and this is poetry. Drawing on some of his experiences in NYC and having a centralized focus on the disaffected/alienated, the mentally ill, the homeless, those lacking in any identity in society, it's exhilarating and eye opening. I enjoyed it so much I might even call him one of these days.
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Format: Paperback
I read virtually no modern poetry, so my experience of “The Other Guy” lacked any real context: it was like getting drunk in a foreign city and wandering around lost all night, only with this particular collection as a guidebook I found myself in the city’s seedier districts, with various down-and-outers for company. In other words, reading it was somewhat disorienting. It was also immensely satisfying.

Allen’s voice lacks any of the preciosity and indirectness that bedevils so many other poets. I initially wrote that it was “Simple, supple, and succinct,” but alliterative games like that don’t do these poems justice: they succeed in part by avoiding such stuff. Like their subjects, they seem to have been stripped clean of superfluous decoration by tragedy and hard living. Every line is crystal clear and as hard as crystal, too:

his case worker,
that livid nose
like a frozen turkey's
bone

--these and other lines recurred to me for days after reading them. Excellent verses overall, sad and unexpectedly genuine, detailing small failures and dead ends redeemed by the beauty in their telling.
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Format: Paperback
Nothing can smack into your life quite like a loaded poem and this little book contains enough loaded poems to strand the reader in the real world for along time to come. By the real world I mean the space where the Other Guy stares through the looking glass - the uncanny blood-drenched, sweat-stained universe where mighty souls suffer and strive.
These are poems that contaminate the conscience and cast a permanent glare on the soul's motions in the night and the day. A terribly aware consciousness produced these insinuating visions and one reads the words with the sense that each word is straining at the limit of its existence to communicate its intolerable and full freight of experience.
Something of a legend in Albany, John Allen restages his one-man-army-of-mercy extravagances and wanderings in lightful glimpses of the homeless, the addicted, the sick, the f---ed and the damned - real people living in a real world - the people Allen meets and struggles to help - their own lives opening out of this books pages to begin their new lives in the reader's mind - and soon - in the reader's lives as well.
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