“Mesmerizing as well as desperate, a wild-eyed tour of a lesser hell. Amadon claims these poems are almost entirely true–if so, God help him, the truth has been transformed into poetry. Sam Amadon–even his name (like Jack Kerouac) is a song. Sing it.”

–Nick Flynn


“These poems are street-smart, buoyantly lyrical, and they possess something beautiful and permanent at their core. Samuel Amadon does for Hartford what Koch, Schuyler, and O’Hara have done for New York City.”

–Tracy K. Smith


“Most poetry written in what might be called the vernacular is evidently a stunt, and we soon weary of such prowess. Sam Amadon has no such self-congratulatory purpose; his speech is helplessly frank in its high and low spirits:My parents thought they d keep me safe / by sticking me in a private school, / but Hartford works its way in no matter / what you learn & this winter / I ve come to know the worst people / the city has in it… The poet is one of them, and suffers as much as any chronicler since Clough for his own pathetic (even ghastly) powers of presence: this is not memoir, it is confession, the speaker is on the rack and only timidly aware of the torture he cannot help wreaking. Our poetry will never be the same now Amadon has spoken, our language can be entirely different. Happily for us.”

–Richard Howard


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