Cover Image: Can You Sign My Tentacle?

Can You Sign My Tentacle?

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Again, while I do enjoy poetry, these simply did not click with me in style, although I did enjoy the flow of them. However, the artistry and care that went into each poem is clear.

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I found so much to admire here - the gorgeous cover, the quirky title, the mix of Black culture and sci-fi/horror tropes. It’s great to read something different in the genre, and horror poetry is something I’m enjoying exploring. I didn’t connect with most of the poems, but I still admired them.

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thank you netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review !!

first of all, the cover is absolutely stunning. i spent more time admiring it than i ever have in my entire life. just please please A D M I R E the cover y'all.

the poetry was average. as a student who took literature, i was able to identify language devices throughout (which i have to say was really good a times), otherwise, this book was normal- i've read better poetry collections. i think this is a children's book so i can't be one to judge too harshly because the poet had written this with an audience in mind and i admire that very much.

i didnt make sense i need sleep bye

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I'm not normally a fan of poetry but this collection was really good! I love a lot of Lovecraft's stories and it was super cool reading this knowing the inspiration. The author's note is also really impactful and goes deeper into why the author wrote this collection. I would definitely check out anything he writes in the future!

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The sheer artistry evident in every line of this poetry collection is breathtaking. O’Brien’s level of craft and polish easily balances razor-sharp wit and whimsy with moving commentary on art, race, Blackness, the complexity of admiring and being influenced by artists who are imperfect humans, and so much more. Every poem in the set is a highlight, though the one about MF Doom and the ones about iconic Calypso singers were particular standouts for me. All of the poems in the book are thoughtful, musical, hilarious and tragic in equal measure—and, most of all, they are brilliant. I went into this book expecting to be entertained—after all, the title! The Lovecraft mythos references! —and came away amazed.

This collection is a joy to read. I would very much recommend it—and I plan to purchase a hard copy to share with friends and family.

I received an e-ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Cthulhu meets hip-hop in this book of horror poems that flips the eldritch genre upside down. Lovecraftian-inspired nightmares are reversed as O'Brien asks readers to see Blackness as radically significant. Can You Sign My Tentacle? explores the monsters we know and the ones that hide behind racism, sexism, and violence, resulting in poems that are both comic and cosmic.

This book is an eclectic assemblage and collection of poems designed to twist the very fabric of reality. Nightmares we see and nightmares we can't all blend together in disturbing and colourful scenario's.
There was a lot to like about some of the poems in the book. But as much as I tried, I failed to see the Lovecraftian-inspired nightmares in reverse. Perhaps not being a poet myself, I missed the subtle nuances.
Some of the poems were indeed comical and cosmic. And some needed reading several times to get the full gist of the idea.
There are your usual traditional style poems interspersed between the more diverse ones.
All in all, it is a thought-provoking read full of emotion and power.

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2.5 rounded up.

O'Brien writes poetry mixed with the sci-fi genre to highlight black voices and black lives

The poetry was good, and it had some really interesting concepts. My only issue was that I didnt really understand it (which is always a risk with poetry but usually I can figure it out in a broad sense), but that could be because I'm not the target audience so some of his poetry just fell flat.

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"Can You Sign My Tentacle?" felt like a collection of essays written in verse. That was not what I thought I would get, but I was pleased with the message that was portrayed. It felt very impactful, as all media about racism written by those who suffer from it; however, poetry, being such an emotive genre, full of passion and truth, gives it an extra push, I was struck with Brandon O'Brien's words. I also think the idea is really interesting, mixing Lovecraft and blackness, but I didn't feel like it was perfectly accomplished, namely because the poetry was confusing at times and because I didn't understand the connections that were being made until I read the Author's Note in the end. My rating for the book is 3,5/5, since I really was let down by the lack of connection between Lovecraft and blackness, as I said, but it still hits like a punch and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the #OwnVoices movement.

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This was an adventure that I went into blindly! I’m glad that I did because it took me by surprise and I didn’t want to put it down. I felt like I was in another world while I was reading it. The writing was written beautifully and definitely kept my attention all the way through and I wanted more! I would recommend this to anyone.

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ARC review.

I'm not generally a poetry reader, but the author is a trini like me so I wanted to check out his work.
Not going to lie I was confused by some of these but that's a me thing, poetry is hard for me but I have my faves from this collection! Ones that resonated or stood out to me:

Because who she is matters more than her words: I liked this one, think it was one of the easier ones for me to read and understand

The lagahoo speaks for itself: Another one that I enjoyed. Anything to do with our folklore characters intrigues me

The metaphysics of a wine, in theory and practice: This one was just genius! The brilliance of its construction! The way wining is described differently here but each one was so relatable and true having given many wines and being a recipient of a good few 😉

Time and time again: This one stuck with me alot too. It was beautifully written! I'm not sure if the meaning I took away from it was what the author intended but it felt like a commentary on a queer relationship? I could be way off but open to interpretation right?

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I received an eARC copy from Interstellar Flight Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lovecraft Thesis #5

.......Ever notice
how they huddle around warped symbols,
pledge fealty to idols long since dust,
march on wearing capsized ideas
on their heads to hide from sight?

The philosophical aspect of placing words one after the other in a specific order exists for one and one purpose only, and that is to elaborate a higher transcendental objective that aims to transmit a deeper meaning of simple communication. Furthermore, one must ensure that the precise word is placed in an unerring place to emphasize a specific momentum the message wants to highlight.

In simple words, my expectations were not met. If this collection was supposed to be a horror novel-in-verse, it did not hit the spot; there was no connection with H. P. Lovecraft's tones whatsoever, although the reference was there. When it comes to the sci-fi explosion of motives, there were no cohesion of thoughts and no relation with the previous nor the following verse.

Most of the poems felt like badly put-together odd words from an ancient dictionary that make no sense. The writing was confusing most of the time, the relation between words and thoughts not there, the expression overpowered with an abundance of extravagant phrases and sentences that failed in transmitting a, what I believe was, simple message.

The blurb said that "Can You Sign My Tentacle? explores the monsters we know and the ones that hide behind racism, sexism, and violence, resulting in poems that are both comic and cosmic." None of these emotions, feelings, deep meanings and hidden messages came through; none of them screamed at my face. That is what was expected; that is what I came here for. The struggle is real when I have to reread a few verses and poems and still come through blank, without finding anything new about what I have just read.

One great thing that caught my attention was the cover artwork. It is fascinating, inviting, intriguing; the colour palette is gorgeous. I just wish this collection considered including illustrations that would represent the words and messages the poetry bears; that would have been a perfect combination.

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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of Can You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O'Brien.

This collection of poems really intrigued me, and the fantastic cover art by Trevor Frayley was what had me clicking to find out more about this book.

I will not pretend to be an expert in poetry. In fact, I don't often read it. But Can You Sign My Tentacle? just had that draw that made me want to read it... and I'm glad I did.

I am going to insert the author's blurb here as it honestly is the best way to explain exactly what this book of poerty is:

"Cthulhu meets hip-hop in this book of horror poems that flips the eldritch genre upside down. Lovecraftian-inspired nightmares are reversed as O'Brien asks readers to see Blackness as radically significant. Can You Sign My Tentacle? explores the monsters we know and the ones that hide behind racism, sexism, and violence, resulting in poems that are both comic and cosmic."

Can You Sign My Tentacle? is eye opening, beautiful and heartbreaking all at once, and so very well written. Some of my favourites included: -

-Lovecraft Thesis #2
-Birth, Place
-Kanye West's Internet Bodyguard Asks Hastur to Put Away the Phone
-Cthylla Asks for J. Cole's Autograph

Tloto Tsamaase put their praise of this book into words far better than I could: "Dreamlike, visceral, and emotionally moving. An intoxicating poetic journey and a heartbreaking ode casting your fave hip-hop artists juxtaposed with chilling and beautiful imagery through the haunting lens of tangible pain, loss, grief and love"

Overall, a really, really good book of poems that will get you thinking, and hopefully, acting and using your own voice.

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Thank you NetGalley for this ARC!

I'm sorry, but I just didn't get this! While some individual poems are really nice, I didn't get the theme as a whole and it felt random to me.

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I've never read a collection of sci-fi poetry before, so this book was an interesting change of pace. The imagery and language used reminded me of a high fantasy novel, where some of the passages take a few rereads to really sink in. As with high fantasy, this poetry collection wasn't my cup of tea, but I'm glad I had the experience of reading it.

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This sounded interesting and I’ve become a born-again poetry lover and so have been seeking out the work of many different poets lately, but sadly Brandon O’Brien’s “Can You Sign My Tentacle?” tries too hard to be trendy and edgy. There is a wealth of pop culture references which don’t really work in poems which are already far too longwinded and wordy. The presence of Chthulhu and friends in a poetry collection may be a world first but it is not a successful guest appearance. In between these poems are more traditional ones about race, sexism etc which actually show a glimmer of talent on the part of O’Brien; it’s baffling why the book needed to be padded out with the other nonsense.

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I wanted to like this.
It looked and sounded interesting. However I couldn't get into. I ended up giving in and I DNFd it half way through. This book just wasn't for me. I'm sure others will enjoy this.

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Thankyou Netgalley for giving me early access to this.

I really struggled to get into this. I felt like they weren't really poems but a mix up of words that I wanted to find a deeper meaning for but couldn't. I felt more like a word cloud of ideas that didn't fit together.

There was 1 I did enjoy which was "The Repossession Of Skin" I felt like that was the best of the whole book.
I didnt understand his use of the phrase "I is" and "I am" , I felt like it stopped the poems from flowing and I had to constantly reread parts to make sure I read it correctly.
There was 1 poem which was based on a famous rapper and to be honest I didn't see the point in this, I felt like he did it just so there was a famous name there.
In itself its only 75 pages, so not long at all, and I felt like it was such a slow paced book.

I get all poetry is different and sometimes it's personal, and it might just be I don't understand this style but it certainly wasn't for me and I wouldn't recommend it if I'm completely honest.

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I really wanted to like this but unfortunately it fell flat for me. It sounded great, its horror poetry which I haven’t seen done before and its by a small black author.
unfortunately some of the poems just didn’t hit for me. I think part of the problem is that I dont like or read horror however I think overall some of the stories just dont work.
I dont think anyone has ever done horror poetry before so I think he’s really talented and creative for coming up with this. Even though I didn’t like the poems I still think the writing is strong and wonderful.
So to sum all my feelings up I think this authors writing is great but im going to have to look into his previous work to enjoy him. I defintly think if you want a quick read and your into horror and poetry you’ll adore this piece.

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Thank you for the opportunity to review this one. I was instantly drawn in by the cover of this one and have been wanting to try more poetry. I'll be honest this one probably wasn't for me, I read about a quarter of it before I stopped. I understand what the goal was but I just didn't really feel like I was enjoying it all that much. I definitely think this is a case of it being me and my tastes rather than the book itself. Would recommend it to others who I know would enjoy it.

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Can you sign my tentacle? is a collection of poems that fall under the “horror” genre. The author writes poems inspired by HP Lovecraft. I enjoyed some of the poems, such as “Because Who She is Matters More than her Words,” “The Sailor-boys,” “The Lagahoo Speaks for
Itself,” and “Tar Baby.” Those four poems caught my attention the most because the meaning behind each of them was clear, and genuine. However, the rest of the poems were hard to decipher due to the wordiness and writing style. Also, I don’t understand using “I is” instead of “I am” the poem would have flowed a lot better using the latter. At times I found the poetry topics to be a bit shallow, specifically in the ones asking for various rap artists autographs. Overall it was okay. One and done for me. 2/5

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