Book Review — Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You

Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You by Juliana Spahr
Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You by Juliana Spahr is a collection of poetry with a Hawaiian theme. Spahr earned a BA in languages and literature from Bard College and a PhD in English from SUNY Buffalo. Spahr’s interests revolve around questions of transformation, language, and ecology. Concerned with politics without being overtly political, Spahr’s work crosses a variety of American landscapes, from the disappearing beaches of Hawaii to the small town of her Appalachian childhood. She has taught at Siena College and at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is currently an associate professor of English at Mills College.

I first ran across Spahr’s writing in a collection of alternative poetry. I forgot what the poem was but, after reading it, it was enough to for me to order this collection. Spahr’s work is interesting and takes an original look at life and our environment. She plays with here and there and joins it with tears. She takes a room and compares its function and the behavior of its occupants by a simple piece of furniture — the difference that a table or a bed makes in the room. Separating and joining. Closed against open. Uncertainty and confidence.

She compares a parking lot and the stream that runs adjacent to it. The parking lot for some reason has no access. Two buildings block opposite sides. The stream blocks the other. The last side is closed off with a fence. It is space for simply space’s sake. The parking lot is unused, but the stream is alive. This leads to a discussion of rights that we think we have and the rights that are written or limited. It is a call for the recognition of the rights of native Hawaiians have been slowly losing to urbanization and profits.

Spahr lines are short and her verses are short, sometimes just a single line. The style is enjoyable as well as clear and crisp. Despite the title, it is not offensive or distasteful. A very worthwhile read.

(I read this for my own enjoyment and not for review.)


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