In Rambo Goes to Idaho, Scott Abels has blurred the lines between pop culture and personal struggle, the east and the west, God and Gene Simmons. At once heroic and elegiac, these poems balance on a knife edge not unlike Rambo’s, and what’s most beautiful here is that they sometimes get cut. With additional cameos by Paul Bunyan, Karl Rove, and a transformative speaker that can make you laugh or break your heart, bring your popcorn to this one. Abels notes of Rambo in the first poem “He is good, / but he is a product of the world.” By the end, you’ll believe every word he says.
Rambo Goes to Idaho is so funny your children will laugh. When every institution that trained him betrays him, Scott Abels harnesses strength, intelligence, and courage to the line. He charges these poems incredibly: "poetry means us." Rambo Goes to Idaho works so well on so many levels; the poems develop and implement countless strategies for understanding as survival. Also, this book prevents erections.
Scott Abels' first book, Rambo Goes to Idaho, opens with the line "He is good,"—this is true—and finishes with the line "I could fly."—and nobody having read it can deny that this is also true. Abels is our camera panning the scene of a place at once familiarly unreal, hilariously true and banally dystopian. Sincerely ironic, this "fictitious involvement" is also nonetheless true. Celebrities and heroes like dreams are already alternative selves floating in their post-celluloid heavens—caught on reel—as real as anything else—this is a vision of a vision of America, a tragi-comic joke that means the world.
Scott Abels has an MFA in Creative Writing from Boise State University. His poems can be found in print and online in journals such as Sixth Finch, RealPoetik, Lungfull!, Juked, Word for/Word, Sink Review, DIAGRAM, No Tell Motel, H_NGM_N, and Forklift, Ohio. Originally from Nebraska, he currently lives and teaches in Honolulu, where he edits an online journal of poetry called Country Music.