Introduction & Overview of Last Request

Joel Brouwer
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Last Request Summary & Study Guide Description

Last Request Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on Last Request by Joel Brouwer.

When Joel Brouwer's "Last Request" was published in his first (and only, to date) collection Exactly What Happened in 1999, it was one among many poems that surprised readers with a macabre subject and somewhat bizarre humor. With poem titles such as "Former Kenyan Parliament Member Arrested for 'Imagining the Death' of President Daniel Arap Moi," "Astronomers Detect Water in Distant Galaxy," and "Locking Up the Russian," Brouwer shows his audience up front that he is not afraid to break the rules of formal or "expected" poetry. His work tackles any and all topics, and "Last Request" is a good example. Its subject is not only strange and funny but frightening and tragic as well.

In this poem, the speaker requests that, after he dies, his body be entombed in a cardboard pyramid and placed in the backyard at first, then taken to a dump and left among the stench of spoiled food and hungry flies buzzing about the piles of garbage. As odd and deplorable as this sounds, the speaker presents a good case for his request and does so in simple, honest, perfectly sane language—in spite of his obviously crazy desire. "Last Request" is funny in places, sad in others, and always surprising. This mixture of intriguing qualities is what makes Brouwer's work stand out among the throng of young, contemporary American poets, and it is what makes this poem both delightful and depressing at the same time.

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This section contains 240 words
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Poetry for Students
Last Request from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.