“In the world of poetry, there are way too many authors trying to be like Bukowski and not enough realizing that what made Bukowski great was the fact that he approached his problems with a knife, tons of honesty, and a bottle of booze. Now, without trying, Grimbol has achieved Bukowski-esque poetry because he did his own thing. And that thing is a weird, heartfelt, boozy, humorous gem coated with a bit of sweat and grime.”—Gabino Iglesias, Author of Gutmouth.
Published by RA Press 2013
Readings from THE CREEK:
REVIEW BY DANGER SLATER, AUTHOR OF PUPPET SKIN
Poetry. You either love it or hate it or maybe you like it or maybe you like like it or maybe you’ve never allowed yourself to feel feelings for words like this before. No matter what your relationship to poetry is in the past, I’m pretty confident this is a book that is not only accessible, but, in a way, almost vital.
The Creek consists of about 25-30 short poems, most of which are so good, I had to force myself not to binge read this entire book. Poetry deserves to be digested, slowly, like a Venus flytrap eating a bug. So I fought the urge. I’d read one or two poems, put the book down, do some chores or watch a little TV, then pick it up again and read one or two more. THAT is how this books needs to be read. Because at first glance, Grimbol has a way of coming at you in a strictly puerile manner. Sometimes he writes about awkward boners. Or farts. But that is actually reductive of what I feel he’s trying to accomplish. In much the same vein of someone like Whitman, these poem revel in their humanity. And that includes all the sticky, gross, sexiness of it. But Grimbol’s approach is not to be disgusting, or shocking, or even funny really – he comes at the subject of his body and the bodies of those around him from a childlike place of wonder, curiosity, naivety, and unpretentiousness. To read a poem like that is not only rediscover your own body, but to rediscover the person you used to be when you were discovering your body for the first time. And he does this which lyricism and tact.
But that’s only about half the poems in this book. The other half are ruminations on love and loss. In the intro, Grimbol calls his poems “chubby-hearted”. That’s a pretty accurate description, I’d say. He talks a lot about his mother (and the titular creek in which he lay her final ashes) and it’s heartbreaking. There is no frills here. No cheap ploys to tug at your heart strings. This is a dude laying it down, emotionally bare, but not for your sympathy or for your entertainment or any of that nonsense. He’s laying it bare because he HAS to. To me, this is the hallmark of a true artist.
Am I fawning too much here? I LOVED THIS BOOK. So suck it. I can fawn all I want.
There’s a common piece of writing advice that my personal hero, Kurt Vonnegut, once gave that went: “Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.” Well, I think for me, from here on out, that person needs to be Justin Grimbol. If I can one day give the world just a fraction of what he was able to give with these poems, then I’ll have done my job as a writer.