Michael Robbins, author of Alien vs. Predator (Penguin Books, 2012), has gotten a lot of attention for his book of poems because of his relentless mashing together of pop-cultural references with literary and scholarly ones. Also, his ubiquitous use of rhyming was strangely considered noteworthy by poetry readers. Why has a mode of expression that is found everywhere in popular culture and art history so provocative to the poetry community and the general reader? Because most readers focused on the hypnotically vulgar surfaces of his work, without bothering to discover why the poet was writing the poems that way. While Alien vs. Predator is certainly a sharp critique of the plasticity of a fallen world, that isn’t the only thing that drives him to be a bit trashy and sinister. That impulse happens to spring from Mr. Robbins’ gentle and awkward heart. We explore the spirit of his work in our discussion, along with other topics like cats, Heidegger, pessimism, book reviewing, his next poetry manuscript, and so much more. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

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