As much as I read, and as little as I review, you might think I’m showing favoritism by having a second review of a Moctezuma Johnson book. I’m not going to deny it; MJ is one of my favorite erotica writers, and I really think that people need to be more aware of him and his work. But since I’m planning to catch up on some reviews, I’m going to start with his, and since it’s my website, nothing has to be fair about it. Nyah.
I’m very harsh on poetry. I avoid reviewing it. I love it too much to be easy on it, because when it’s good, it’s the absolute best that writing can be. Most of the poetry I’ve read in my life, to be honest, was just shit. Most of my own poetry is just shit. Even the greatest poets have a bit here and there that is just pure shit; pretentious, self-indulgent, less witty than intended — it comes with the territory and there’s no avoiding it. This collection is not different in that regard. It’s light on pretension, but a little high on self-indulgence, if you want to know the flaws. The thing about it is, for me (and probably all of MJ’s readers), that only adds to the humor and depth of the work as a whole. MJ is delightfully self-aware.
If you read any of these poems individually, you’ll find it a crapshoot between “brilliant” and “what the fuck,” with more leaning toward the latter than the former, in spite of MJ’s natural gift for turning obscenity into art. When read as a whole, however, Poisonous Apples becomes something much greater than the sum of its parts.
This collection is a delicately woven tapestry, and like all art worthy of the name, reveals something of the reader to themselves. When poetry does this, I consider it good. Poisonous Apples is good poetry, even when it maybe isn’t. I’d go so far as to call the work as a whole “brilliant.” My highest recommendation for this collection.
(Oh yeah… buy it here)