Much has been said about Michael Robbins and the way his poems are deliciously drenched in pop-culture references. And I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it was this particular style (milkshake, if you will) that brought me to his Alien vs. Predator yard. His choice of words, not only brings much humor to his poems, but also makes them feel very timely—not just contemporary.
Once you look past the pop-culture references you will see Robbins’ real love for the poetic tradition of rhyme. For instance, in Welfare Mothers, “Little Bo Mercy in heels and hose,/ just under the water she usually goes./ She moves grams and ounces, prays for war./ She’s not the droid you’re looking for.”
And these two great final lines for the poem, Dig Dug: “Memory is the bended grass where deer have lain./ It’s hard to hold a candle to the cold November rain.” Throughout the book, you’ll find rhymes like these that make the reading experience enjoyable.
There are a lot of themes in the book, including some very serious political stuff. The poem, Remain In Light, gets into the struggle of the Palestinian people—in a very different and unique way: “This is a poem for the Caterpillar D9./ I, Rachel Corrie, one of the rough, a kosmos./ This must be nasty anti-Semitic poem!”
Some readers might have a difficult time finding out the meaning to these poems, as it will almost never be obvious. Truth be told, most of these poems went over my head. But I’ve only done one quick reading of the book, and I know reading this collection over and over again and really studying these poems will never be boring.
Have I sold you on buying this book? Well, here’s one last thing: You know how you’ll be at a bookstore flipping through poetry books, and in the last page there’s usually a photo of the poet—which is usually some old professor guy in a nice button shirt or sweater who looks like he’s spent too much time in the library studying the meaning of a Shakespearean sonnet? Well, in the last page of this book, there’s just a picture of some dude…in a Slayer t-shirt!