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the Daily Palette of The Iowa Review
In this now out of print collection, Moreau explores his transformation from small-town Iowa boy to big-city Chelsea Boy. Inspired by the famous Manhattan gayborhood and its vibrant nightlife, Moreau’s poems reveal the pleasures and complexities of a resilient community.
Praise for Chelsea Boy:
"Craig Moreau’s Chelsea Boy is a true original, in many senses of the word. It’s simultaneously a serious collection, and a book of poetry intended for readers who don’t usually read poetry at all. Moreau is a passionate, gifted poet, and with Chelsea Boy he enters terrain far too seldom poetically traversed."
“I never had the body or the stamina to be a Chelsea Boy. But Craig Moreau obviously has both ... and the rare lyrical talent to give voice to a shirts-off, drugs-kicked-in world of sex, sadness, beauty, and truths that are sometimes fabulous, sometimes shameless, sometimes still deadly. Here is a full parade of the wicked and the pretty, ghosts and the living, the self-absorbed and the quietly self-knowing—all dancing to Moreau's spare, honest and seductive music.”
“Serious poetry, but with a sense of fun and adventure to which many readers will respond. Moreau shines brightest in his “Chelsea Boy Survival Guide” pieces and especially in “Lesson #3: How to do a Bender.” He shares the emotions that prey on the circuit partier who has been up for two days, how his language is impacted and the thought process is altered throughout the course of an event.”
—Scott A. Drake, Philadelphia Gay News
“If you haven't experienced New York's gay scene for a while, Craig Moreau's Chelsea Boy will whisk you through a smart, sexy armchair visit. It's a book of poems that even poetry-phobes may enjoy. Moreau, an Iowan who moved to Manhattan with big gay dreams in 2007 at age 24, writes accessibly, frankly, and with wry humor. In great gay poetry tradition, Moreau references Whitman, but he draws more on contemporary culture: James Franco, Rent, Facebook, Bill O'Reilly, Manhunt, and Grindr all make cameo appearances. What impresses in the end is the seriousness and resonance Moreau brings to a cliché-ridden milieu: he writes observantly about the sex-charged, media-drenched, stylized gay world with neither condescension nor full embrace. He floats on its surface, dips down to draw out experiences, but never sinks into its mire.”
—Jim Gladstone, Passport
“The vivid evolution of a Chelsea Boy is the stuff of Craig Moreau's smashing, ingenious three-part poetic debut. Though he began living in New York City only four years ago, the author was immediately entranced by the Chelsea neighborhood nostalgically “built on sex, driven by sex, and almost destroyed by sex.” The Boy of his poetry is something to observe, leaping off the page in a flourish of lost innocence and rampant sexual desire. He stomps through these pages alive with the excitement of learning life lessons (“it's a rush when you connect your first pieces”), of bar culture (“I can rest assured that my tail is always wagging, and people know what it means when I say woof”), mesmerized by dance floors (“a place where the glimmer really starts to glamour”), Fire Island (“our flags at full staff/Men making Greek love”), and parties galore (“a panorama of abdominals in such quantity they become average”).”
—Jim Piechota, Bay Area Reporter
“Craig Moreau is a new poet and his first book, Chelsea Boy, looks at how he was transformed when he moved from Iowa to New York City. The poems are playful and erotic and tell us about the way we live—and to me that is what counts.”
—Amos Lassen, Windy City News