Author: Richard Siken
Publisher: Yale University Press (2005)
Richard Siken’s Crush, selected as the 2004 winner of the Yale Younger Poets prize, is a powerful collection of poems driven by obsession and love. Siken writes with ferocity, and his reader hurtles unstoppably with him. His poetry is confessional, gay, savage, and charged with violent eroticism. In the world of American poetry, Siken's voice is striking.
In her introduction to the book, competition judge Louise Glück hails the “cumulative, driving, apocalyptic power, [and] purgatorial recklessness” of Siken’s poems. She notes, “Books of this kind dream big. . . . They restore to poetry that sense of crucial moment and crucial utterance which may indeed be the great genius of the form.”
"Siken writes about love, desire, violence, and eroticism with a cinematic brilliance and urgency that makes this one of the best books of contemporary poetry."
"One book I keep returning to is Richard Siken’s Crush. . . . The poems are vivid, heaving things, stuffed with obsession and surprises. . . . The poems aren’t comforting, but they’re invigorating. This is a book about thrashing around in the great big world, being messy, being alive.”
–Elizabeth A. Harris
"Vital, immediate, and cinematic in scope, [Siken's] verse offers sharply observed vignettes of longing, love, and pain."
"Crush embodies an impressive unity of sex, the currents of feeling that carry us helplessly, fleeting encounters that often promise physical transcendence but leave us unloved or emotionally drained. . . . A vivid, fast-paced book that may be read as a single, powerful sequence."