Cover Image: Can You Sign My Tentacle?

Can You Sign My Tentacle?

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Member Reviews

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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A pleasant mix of Lovecraftian horror and hip-hop. I found the poetry very intriguing. 
I especially loved "the one". 

I found the author's note at the end of this book to be a good read. I would definitely recommend not skipping over it!

The cover art is great as well. The title, cover art, and description of the book really made me want to read it, and the book did not disappoint. 

If you're a fan of Lovecraftian horror, hip-hop, and poetry I would give this book a read!

Thank you to NetGalley and Interstellar Flight Press for the ARC.
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The way of Brandon subverts some cosmic horror concepts is a magnificent thing. Making supernatural creatures looking for a autograph of some black celebrities, tensioning the concept of utopia and describing the urban mechanisms even thinking about death makes this book a wonderful lecture.
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This review is based on NetGalley ARC provided in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher!

This poetry collection was everything that I didn’t know I needed. Part Lovecraftian horror, part hip-hop, and part social reform, ‘Can You Sign My Tentacle?’ is a ride, and one that you won’t soon forget. It felt like a fever dream wrapped up in a poetry collection, and I mean that in the best way possible. The way that it not only manages to do exactly what it says on the tin, but also cover important social issues is spectacular. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
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I really enjoyed this poetry. While at times I didn't quite understand what was going on - thats ok. This book wasn't made for me as white reader, but I was able to empathize and understand the author and his heart pouring out onto the pages. I will say, the first section, with Donald Glover, was the section that clicked for me. I loved the intertwining of all things Childish Gambino, Donald Glover, and the character's he's played on screen. 

Really great book of horror poems, eye opening and relevant pop culture and social impacts mentioned. It was tough to read at times, and other moments left me nodding along.
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This is a really interesting collection, almost like a series of mini-collections spliced together. There's a series of poems wherein entities of the Cthulhu Mythos interact with famous Black musicians; a series of "Lovecraft Theses," wherein the author speaks to Lovecraft; a series about building Utopia and how damn dystopic Utopia is; and a smattering of other poems about colonization, chattel slavery, and Blackness.

My favorites were, I think, "Birth, Place," "Kanye West's Internet Bodyguard Asks Hastur to Put Away the Phone," "tar baby," and "drop some amens." But every poem in this collection is doing something interesting, and almost every one has at least a couple of phrases that made me go back and reread and think. I loved lines like "light takes its own life before it can be food," "violence makes good background noise / for anything," "know that my landlords are / greater than yours."

I think that inverting the Lovecraft mythos to confront and deal with its own racism is a natural thing to do. I've seen this done plenty of times in prose (see: the works of Victor LaValle and Matt Ruff, both of which O'Brien mentions in his Author's Note), but never before in poetry, and O'Brien does it very cleverly here, mixing themes and imagery in a way that poetry lends itself to. O'Brien's Author's Note is also really key, contextualizing the poems and providing a kind of critical and emotional lens through which to view them.

I'd recommend this book of poems, and I'll probably find myself rereading a few of them later on.

I received an e-ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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a lot of these poems felt like the author simply mashed a bunch of words together and hoped that you'd derive meaning from it. the book feels more like a collection of word clouds than anything else. in the first poem alone, i found myself searching every other phrase in case it was a reference to something that i didn't understand. 

however, i enjoyed parts of some of the less-oblique poems, such as "the repossession of skin."

<i>someone has to sleep and wake in that skin.
you're just sweating and masturbating in it.</i>

this book is only 75 pages in total, but it felt so slow and difficult to read. i would send this entire book to an editor for feedback and changes, and i would not recommend it to any reader, as is.

*i received an advance-reader-copy from the publisher, for free, in exchange for an honest review.*
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Ok how can I express my feelings about Can You Sign My Tentacle? As standalone poems I actually really enjoyed quite a number of them. The themes explored within the poems are current, relevant and relatable. I can understand the author relating to the theme of horror - and actually the themes of racism, sexism etc are in themselves horror without the 'horror elements' as metaphor. I found that I couldn't read the book in order so in that sense it was different to other verse novels which have been popular with 'non poetry reading' audiences. I'm not sure if that was because I wasn't gripped by the novel as a complete story, or if I was seeking out verses that I could ponder over a little more deeply. I would definitely like to read more from the author - probably without horror metaphor though.
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4 stars.
This is a strange one for me, I've tried poetry books in the past and I haven't been able to truly relate or feel very much from them.
But this, it hit differently. It was beautifully written and definitely gave me creepy and unsettling vibes, like I was watching something in a fever dream-like fashion.
It covers topics of racism among other things.

One of my favourites was "time, and time again" I actually teared up. I also really enjoyed the autograph poems. The cover is also very beautiful!
Reading the author's notes gave me so much insight too.
Thank you, NetGalley for early access to this beautiful collection!
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