Michael Robbins’ follow-up to his 2012 gut-busting collection Alien vs. Predator (Penguin) is as rambunctious as its predecessor, full of pop cultural detritus recombined and renewed, if not quite redeemed. (“Ask not what the Dew can do for you,” the speaker cautions in “Sonnets to Edward Snowden,” JFK’s voice momentarily a shill for Mountain Dew.) Even better, the poems in The Second Sex (2014) find new depths by making their way into matters personal, political, and especially spiritual, as when the speaker takes on Christopher Hitchens and the New Atheism, declaring “I don’t believe you: God is great” (“Sweat, Piss, Jizz & Blood”)—a surprising turn from a poet trying to understand what it could mean “if [he] were less like this, / a billion points of glitter / in a fathomless abyss” (“Out Here in the Fields”).
Michael Robbins, The Second Sex. Published by Penguin (2014). 50 pages.