Make it a Double is Randall McNair's second book of poems and adopts a solid, belligerent attitude from the start, with a poetic disclaimer identifying McNair's audience and intentions: "This is not/your mother’s poetry—/erudite and finished./No, this is swinging-dick poetry,/big-hanging-balls poetry,/written by a man for men."
The collection is replete in profanity, whiskey, and powerful reflections on encounters from both sides of the bar stool. It sizzles and synthesizes as it depicts a life not usually committed to verse: "I write love poems about/wood bars and darkened rooms/ice-cold beer and whiskey./I cherish the voices of my fellow drunks/and wear the foolishness of their words/like wool around my neck,/our tumblers clanking/like wind chimes/as we toast our luck."
The brash candor of these pieces will certainly offend the politically correct, many a female mind, and those who equate the poetic form with circumspect wisdom...but this collection isn't written for the usual audience. Those seeking literary odes or traditional epic approaches would be advised to look elsewhere; because while Make it a Double is both literary and epic, it doesn't reflect the usual sense of these words, and is guaranteed to raise hackles in the erudite mind.
If there was ever 'poetry for the people' designed to explore the experiences, perceptions, and milieu of a class not usually committed to verse, it would be this collection.
McNair's observations of drink, drunks, bars, women, and the underbelly of life will resonate strongly with anyone familiar with this milieu: "The whiskey weighs on me/like a leaden cloak/leaching into my bloodstream,/changing the very structure/of my face."
Even the poem titles are often gritty and revealing, as in 'Uncle Jim's Last Shot of Whiskey on a Cloudy Day in Late September Just Before he Was Swallowed by the Earth.'
Readers (especially men) looking for poems that speak to the heart, embedded with reflections on alcohol and life, with a bit of hair of the dog that comes with the bite of originality, will relish these reflections.
—D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review