Helium is the debut poetry collection by Rudy Francisco. The publisher description says he has “defined poetry for a generation of new readers.” And he does have a modern take with his poetry about love, race, living and even his depression. He is easy to read and has great tidbits of relatable words.
Having done a bit of research, it looks like Francisco has published with some self-published items, but this is his debut with Button Poetry. And I am excited to say I will look for more of his work because of Helium. Even when he is speaking about a female lover it is relatable. Even when he is talking about being black and being pulled over by the police you can understand his fear. He is not heavy handed about the injustice of being 18 and driving in the “wrong neighborhood” but there is no question what he is feeling.
None of the poems are very long (the longest is, due to spacing, two pages) yet there is a lot packed in. I knew I was in trouble from the first poem: out came the sticky notes and marking pages. I also got out the pencil and underlined certain passages. For the most part, the lines I enjoyed are great on their own, but of course, need to be in context. Yet, they are still powerful and amazing.
I have heard him reading his work via Facebook, yet, silent reading is just as wonderful. His poems are slightly easier to read than some of the other poets of Button Poetry I have loved, but at the same time, both formats are must (reading and listening). And of course, I would love to hear him live.