72 pages | 6 1/8 x 8 1/2 | © 2008
“Atkinson is as comfortable riffing on pop culture as she is on Cicero, John Milton, and Herodotus, all of whom show up in her poems. But this is not showing off. Rather, these bits and pieces—unexpected, at times half-remembered, only give more weight to her experience, a heady mix of ideas and influences that reverberates like memory in the mind.”
David Ulin | Los Angeles Times
"Colette LaBouff Atkinson’s artful laconicism attains the force of a shout, without ever raising its voice. The intelligent, merciless narrative cool arrays a sad comedy, with an unemphatic but penetrating ’and then . . . and then’: accounts of love pursued far more often than it is glimpsed or realized."
“What I love about the ferociously efficient poems in Colette Atkinson’s Mean is how paradoxically generous they are. Dead-set against sweetness, they seek to make of ‘mean’ a term of hard-won praise. In the stories they tell about our helter-skelter, contradictory wanting, they pursue the mean-streak that keeps us honest, that keeps us going after what we want, even if or especially when it means breaking what we thought we wanted.”
“Atkinson has taken charge of her personal history, mapped it out across the rough sides of suburban coastal southern California where she drives to the Pacific to be without force, and to be revealed. Mixing popular movies, songs, and arcade games with thoughts on Milton, Augustine, and Herodotus, and with sympathy for the misunderstood crow and turkey vulture, Mean cracks a whip that cracks back on itself—aware at each step that what is given up, in kindness or cruelty, is never balanced by the reward.”
“The poems in Colette LaBouff Atkinson’s Mean blend high culture, pop culture, and pathos. As a writer of lean prose poems that are technically masterful but never fussy, LaBouff Atkinson is also a storyteller of contemporary America: its influences by both John Milton and The Amityville Horror. Her keen eye for detail entertains and informs the reader while she spins a tale of mixed emotions, family history, love, loss, and solitude: an accurate record of the way we live today.”
Table of Contents
Mean, Part Two
Medium Intense Red Copper
Hart Crane Slept Here
Three Days of the Condor
The Glass Show Lounge
I’m sorry I was blind
Intention (The Dead Leaves)
Perhaps this verse would please you better—Sue—(2)
For God’s Sake, Get Out
Graphic Novel Romance (V for Vendetta)
Port of Los Angeles
Taking it like a little soldier, aren’t you?
Gardena Freeway, California
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