The Day the World Ends by Ethan Coen

The Day the World Ends by Ethan Coen, one half of the Coen Brothers film making team with great films under their belt like Brother, Where Art Thou? and No Country for Old Men, is a twisted and unexpectedly thoughtful collection in places.  The limericks are bawdy and remind me of Christopher Moore’s humorous prose, but less in the smart and sassy humor and more in the low-class bathroom humor sense.  Necromancy Never Pays stated that the poetry in the volume is geared toward a male audience, and in most cases, that is true — particularly with the dirty limericks.

"Stone-age man, thawed from glacier, aghast:
'Was some snowman in my recent past?
And if so, who fucked who?
My dick's numb and quite blue
And there's freezer burn all up my ass.'" (Page 28)

Additionally, Coen appears to love rhyme, no matter how trite or over-stretched it might be.  Readers could find this collection amateur at best in how Coen chooses his rhymes, even when they have a tongue-in-cheek quality.  Like the “bathroom” humor, these rhymes can get tiresome.  Take for instance the rhymes in “Vine-Covered Verse” (page 53), “Lord, keep this farmer’s soul in peace,/For, though he dallied with his niece,/And cow, and nephew, none can claim/He, during, failed to praise Your name;/And how commit a lesser sin/When neighbors are but kine and kin?//”   However, even in this poem, there are moments of deeper thought in which the narrator is asking what sins are worse and should they all be forgiven or all be condemned.  It also questions how well we know our partners or other humans in general and what secrets they will take to their graves.

Coen’s poetry in this collection seems built for laughs among men mostly, though there are moments in which the poems are not trying so hard to be humorous.  There are some with an anachronistic quality to them, while others like “My Father’s Briefcase” are more serious and reflective.  “Therapy” uses humor and disdain to point out the inane struggle we have against aging and the depression that accompanies the process of aging, as the narrator talks of his depression to a less-than-helpful therapist.

The Day the World Ends by Ethan Coen is not for everyone and could be trying if read from cover to cover, but for those looking for a humorous romp on the underside of humanity, take a dip into these pages.

Poet Ethan Coen

About the Poet:

Ethan Jesse Coen is one half of the American film making duo the Coen brothers.  Their films include Blood Simple, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, No Country for Old Men, and True Grit. The brothers write, direct and produce their films jointly, although until recently Joel received sole credit for directing and Ethan for producing. They often alternate top billing for their screenplays while sharing film credits for editor under the alias Roderick Jaynes.

To enter to win one of 2 copies for US/Canada readers:

Leave a comment about what tour stop on the National Poetry Month Blog Tour you’ve enjoyed most, either here or on one of the participants’ blogs.

Blog, Tweet, or share the link on Facebook for up to 3 additional entries.

Deadline is April 30, 2012.

***Today’s tour stop is at Arisa White, so check it out!***


This is the 11th book for my 2012 Fearless Poetry Exploration Reading Challenge.



This is my 29th book for the 2012 New Authors Challenge.


  1. I’ve been on a poetry mode lately (perhaps for the sake of National Poetry Month) and I would love to read some humorous poems..and Coen’s collection seems like just the thing. *crosses fingers*

    I haven’t visited many stops…been so busy this month, but I quite liked Wordcoaser’s stop on bird poetry, they are always my favorite subject in poetry for some reason…*thinks of Dickenson’s Hope is the Thing with Feathers*

    Blogged: http://circustoybox.blogspot.com/2012/04/day-world-ends-by-ethan-coen.html

    Tweeted: http://twitter.com/lilboxism/status/196453190642839552

    Shared on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lilian.cheng.5/posts/397826860239527
    Many thanks for the giveaway! =)

  2. No need to enter me. I won a copy from Nadia! Woot! Can’t wait to get it.

  3. I have a feeling that this book is unlike anything I’ve ever read!

  4. Sounds pretty nifty – I had no idea one of the Coen brothers wrote poetry. I can see how the rhyming would get annoying after awhile.

    I can’t comment on my favorite stop, however, as this has been the first one I’ve visited. Terrible, I know.

  5. No need to enter me, as I’m definitely not the target audience for this book. I got tired of the bathroom/bedroom humor in Moore’s Fool, and I’m also not big on rhyming verse. I give you kudos for finishing it though, and I added the giveaway to my sidebar.

  6. I think you’re right about not trying to read this one cover to cover–it might be much more fun for someone dipping in for a limerick and a poem. Because April is the cruelest month in the academic calendar, I sometimes get grim about getting all my reading done, and my capacity for enjoyment of this volume may have suffered from that.

  7. I won a copy of this and my just pass it on to Vance.


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