by Travis Hupp
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Pub Date 20 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 21 Dec 2023
People who struggle to fit into narrow, heteronormative societal norms should not be dismissed as childish, crazy, or misanthropic. They might reject blind obedience because they recognize its childishness and possess an extensive vocabulary which includes nuanced concepts like transcendence, which they pursue relentlessly and courageously. Perhaps the routine suffocates us because it lacks order, leading us to accept anything that most people do as normal and good, resulting in a failure of imagination severe enough to become an extinction level event.
If you share this perspective, yet refuse to let it crush your humor, empathy, and determination to express your authentic self and create a better world, then Faster, Annihilators! is the book for you. This poetry collection chronicles a gay man’s struggle to reject conformity, demand more from himself, and thrive in a society that is still inexcusably oppressive.
A Note From the Publisher
"A remarkable collection of poetry that eloquently portrays his journey of sexual awakening and his poignant experiences within the LGBT community, all during a time when same-sex marriage was yet to gain legal recognition in the United States." -Literary Titan
"A gorgeous work that beautifully explores individual angst and timely socio-political issues." -BookView Review
"A stunning collection of poems in several different categories; love, hope, politics, and despair. We look at life through Hupp's eyes." -Readers' Favorite
"When rationale, social observation, and personal evolution collide, the result is powerful indeed. Libraries seeking poetry works that toe the line between memoir and social examination will find Faster, Annihilators! just the ticket for book clubs and readers exploring bigger-picture thinking about life trajectories, choices, and social influences." -Midwest Book Review
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Faster, Annihilators! is a poetry book I will be returning to for the rest of my life. It was a beautiful read. The poems were well organized into sections that flowed and followed very nicely. These poems were so well written, I was surprised to realize this was the author’s first published work. With writing reminiscent of the complexity of Lin Manuel Miranda with internal rhymes, and Dr. Seuss levels of alliteration, Hupp weaves poems that left me thinking, crying, and immediately wanting to re-read and study.
“Your Entire Regime”, “Free to Obey”, “The Voice Will Keep Returning” and “Under Wraps” stand out to me as poems I will remember for all time.
Perhaps I speak as part of the target audience for this book— a queer adult furious with the state of the United States and struggling with the realities of mental health—but I found these poems not only relatable, but comforting and inspiring. (I already want to work “Under Wraps” into my wedding next year). I fiercely look forward to returning to study these poems, and reading more by Travis Hupp in the future!
"𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒅𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒎𝒕 𝒂𝒃𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒂𝒍 𝒉𝒊𝒈𝒉 𝒈𝒓𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒅 𝒏𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒅𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒊𝒕 𝒘𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒃𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒊𝒓 𝒃𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒔 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒄𝒍𝒊𝒎𝒃 𝒕𝒐 𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒄𝒉 𝒊𝒕"
“Faster, Annihilators!” is a hard-hitting collection of poems that shines a light on the issues of expected conformity and the struggles of not fitting into society’s boxes.
One thing that struck me as I read this collection is how a lot of the poems have a dystopian feel to them. Considering Travis Hupp is writing about our current way of life, this made for quite an illuminating and unnerving, yet important, read.
The main themes I took away from this collection are on the flaws of modern civilisation, the question of how free people really are and the damage that arises from living in a society fuelled by capitalism. You get the feeling that Hupp has no option but to write on these matters as he “hunted inspiration to help [him] write anything other than this”. You can really feel the anger and frustration he has lived through due to society’s pressures and unfortunately many will be able to relate to that.
Other themes explored are LGBTQ, mental health and how dismissed it can be by those who should help us, corruption of those in power, control of the masses, hope and love.
Hupp expresses his experiences quite bluntly which helps to reinforce the collection’s subject matter. He also uses interesting imagery that perfectly depict ailments that can be hard to verbalise, such as describing anxiety/ depression as his “guts learn[ing] how to braid”.
This is quite a heavy read but is highly recommended. There is a satisfaction in having Hupp’s poems resonate with how hopeless and lost this fast paced life can make you feel.
Reading a Poetry Collection is a strange thing. You cannot really spend a lot of time at once with it, the poems start to blur together. Which happened everytime I spent more than 15 minutes at once with this book.
I really loved sitting in the dark in my room and mouthing the words to myself in order to understand and recognize the poems structure. Some of these fell flat for me. Plenty might stick with me forever. I liked the themes explored and the way they were separated in the book. My favorite chapters were politics and hope. Plenty of these poems were dripping in anger, hurt and regret. Many were biting, yet beautiful.
All in all I will find myself returning to some of these again and again.