Friday, 4 December 2015

Review Time! (Oh Yeah!) - Straight James/Gay James by James Franco

James Franco author photo
Picture provided as part of the Press Kit by Hansen Publishing Group on NetGalley
Title: Straight James/Gay James 

Author: James Franco.

Genre: Poetry.

Release Date: 1 Jan 2016.

Amazon: UK - US

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.
This is a chapbook of poetry by James Franco. Yes, before you ask the inevitable question. That James Franco.
I really love poetry - but tend to read more of the nineteenth century stuff etc. because a lot of modern poetry is either overly-simplistic rhymes for kids, or overly-pretentious stuff for adults. I'm happy to say that this is neither.
(And don't worry about 'not getting' poetry - you don't have to. Good poetry gets you.)


A variety of poems by James Franco, largely dealing with questions of identity, life as an actor, and sexuality.
It also includes the interview Franco conducted with himself for a magazine, in which he splits himself into Straight James and Gay James (hence the title.)

Best bits:

James Franco can write poetry. I know, who knew? And it's good.
He weaves the lines with an understanding of how they meld and twist together - without ever losing the frank honesty that shines through. He has the confidence to play with the form - blurring the line between poem and prose - without lurching into the territory of a pretentious artiste.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I have a thing for sparse prose, done well. I can tell you that the same applies to verse. And this is some beautiful sparse verse.
In short: Franco. Has. It. I have no idea what 'it' is - I'm not going to ramble about themes and forms and metaphors - that's for some poetry professor somewhere to get in a faff over. I just know it's beautiful - and something special.

Not so great bits:

This isn't for the easily offended - there's sex, swearing, and a bunch of mature themes.
Honestly though, I don't know whether I liked 'Goat Boy.' It kind of creeped me out. Although, given the sex and dead goats, I think that's understandable. It's probably not as bad as it sounds - I just personally didn't like it.


I loved this. I devoured it in less than a day. As I mentioned before, this has it. Well worth the read.

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