Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Day the World Ends - Ethan Coen

I know you are all probably very shocked to see that I've attempted yet another collection of poems in honor of National Poetry Month!  I honestly thought one foray into the world of verse was my limit, but then I was approached by Jonathan at Crown Publishing to read poems written by...Ethan Coen?

Yes, THAT Ethan Coen, of the Brothers Coen, who make seriously, wonderfully messed up movies like Blood Simple, Fargo, No Country For Old Men, and The Big Lebowski.  Which, by the way, I would recommend any and all.  I am a Coen girl down to my toes.  If his poetry was as twisted as his movies, then I knew I was in for a ride to a strange land.

And I was pretty much right.  So much that I'm not even sure how to accurately describe this book.  Strange.  Hilarious.  Rude.  Edgy.  Creative.  Not your English teacher's poetry.

Some of the poems are serene and thoughtful.  But a majority of them sound like they are written by someone who is a) male, b) type "a" personality and probably the life of a party and c) a potty mouth.

Not that I have a problem with that.  I've been known for my sailor-esque interchanges myself.  I just found that Mr. Coen's brand of humor is best consumed in small doses.  A genital reference here, a f-bomb there, right before bed perhaps.  I'm not even able to quote my favorite poems for you, lest I offend.

But I will allude to my absolute favorite poem called "On Turning Fifty".  I have not yet arrived at this age, but it is a-coming, and my husband has already arrived, so I found Coen's angst to be very familiar.  He starts out:

Having arrived I send back word
On what to expect,
What not to expect, 
What to avoid, 
What to do.
First of all, don't come here the way I came.
Not through the forties.

He claims that if you just skipped your forties, you wouldn't miss anything.  Just the "medical lightning bolts", the "emotional brownouts", the requirement of reading glasses, and the feeling of taupe.  He decides at the end of the poem that he should have instead called it "Skip your Forties, F-ers".  You see, I am not even capturing the essence, but you get the point.  It is funny as hell.  If you are in the mood for wise-acrey a wisp of grumble.  

So in the area of poetry, I now consider myself anointed.

3.5 out of 5 stars


caite said...

as much as I like his movies...and I do...I still am not sold. is poetry!

bermudaonion said...

I won a copy of this and after reading a couple of reviews, I gave it to Vance. Not to scare you or anything but, so far, Carl and I thought our 40s were better than our 50s.

JoAnn said...

This may not be for me, but I'm glad you've discovered poetry! The 40's weren't really that bad...

Carrie K. said...

Okay, I'm really worried to start these - this is the second review that's mentioned the vulgarity - and after your e-mail warning.... I have them on the reading schedule for next week, so I guess we'll see!

Zibilee said...

It sounds like I would like this collection. I can be a potty mouth sometimes, and love it when I read something that is vulgar, but still makes me laugh. I would be interested in getting a look at this book! Great review today!

Julie P. said...

Probably very funny in small doses!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Ethan Coen is a poet? What? How interesting.

Jenners said...

This seems like the perfect poet for you!

Jenny said...

Hah, that one you alluded to sounds funny. I considered reading this but just didn't think I would be able to handle the poetry!! I'm thinking maybe the whole book overall probably isn't my thing though.

Darlene said...

Lol. You definitely need a bit of a potty mouth yourself to read this one!

Kathleen said...

I've got to get my hands on that poem, On Turning Fifty. I turn 49 this year and I know I will find it funny!