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iPoems for the Dolphins to Click Home About Paperback – March 18, 2010
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
About the Author
After finishing degrees in philosophy and English in Chile, Luke Maguire Armstrong did what any financially oblivious recent grad would do and took out a student loan to allow him to spend a year backpacking from Chile to Alaska. He only made it as far as Guatemala, where, for two years he has been the director of the educational development organization Nuestros Ahijados. The program works to educate 4,000 orphaned and abandoned children so they can break the vicious cycle of generational poverty. His poetry, fiction and non-fiction have never been translated to Swahili. His travel writings can be found at TheExpeditioner.com. His up and coming novel, How One Guitar Will Save the World is currently looking for a home. Follow him on twitter at twitter.com/lukespartacus.
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The table of contents and intro alone made me laugh out loud, written with the candor and self-effacing suaveness of a travel writer. But Armstrong also alludes to a deeper issue in a society where pop culture has taken over poetry which has become a thing of the past. However, because of the variety in the book; humor mixed with lines that I had to stop myself and read over a second time to fully appreciate the truth, insight and sheer boldness that makes the book an exception to the very genre it alludes to being a part of which is now becoming obscure.
iPoems for the Dolphins to Click Home About is a smart, funny and observant variance of poems that this generation of 20-somethings will gravitate towards. It's definitely not your average book of poetry with titles like "Frequently Asked Questions Broaching the Answers Thrown Into a Guam Bound Bottle," "Expletive Omitting Future Romantic," "For Christmas I'm Buying My Obsessive Compulsive Roommate Hand Santizer," "A Lunch Box Filled With Cat," and "To the Fathers of the Daughters Who Wind Up In My Bedroom."
The best part about the book, in my opinion, is that though it is quite funny with plenty of breezy titles and even some breezy poems, in no way does Armstrong sacrifice humor for depth. The poem "The Stylishness of Burqas This Season" was one of my favorites, though I had many. This one in particular is a full circle of contrasts and oppositions that it masterfully swings back on itself so that a black and white issue for so many is blurred in a more realistic way than I've seen written before, all done in a seemingly effortless way.
For the 20-somethings of my generation, I think most of us can relate to "The Certainty: Either We Must Become Orphans or Our Parents Must Lose Who They Most Love." Though the true depth of meaning will be lost without context I'll risk it for a few particularly powerful lines for me, "Lately I've become too old to still be young," and in the arena of not worrying about finding love later in life, "After I'm worth knowing," as well as, "We won't experience the best of each other, but taking turns listening to each other, we will settle for being Ambassadors to our past." In a generation where we are getting married at an age older than our parents were, experiencing more of life beforehand, this is highly relatable.
It's the type of book that's relatable on some level to almost everyone, not just my demographic. Of course, being a 20-something who loves to travel, I found some degree of connection to my life, thoughts I've had or people I've met in every poem. But then again, my mom also read it and loved it, so it's not so easy to categorize. I have to say, despite not having a distinct form or voice, or rather because there is no distinct form, voice and theme, it's a truly rare and powerful book with humor, despair, longing and much in between. Because Armstrong mixes up the style of his writing so much, one doesn't get bored or complacent. Turning each page feels unpredictable, like opening a package with no idea what to expect.
I have some favorites like "The Momentary Dreams of Heart-Attacking Old Men," and the poem that carries the book's title, "iPoems For the Dolphins to Click Home About." There are more of course, but you'll just have to buy it to read them.
Each time I read the book I feel like I uncover another level of depth or it provokes a different emotion or idea for me. So a definite pro is the book is cost effective since one can read it over and over. I sure have.