Review #128 // Helium – Rudy Francisco

HeliumRudy Francisco is an internet sensation, with Helium being a culmination of his works. Poems that focus on the personal and the political, on race, gender, self-reflection, and culture critique.

Why this book?: In all honesty, it was read now on NetGalley, and I was looking to get into poetry. I thought the cover was interesting, so I decided to give it a shot!

I would like to thank the people at Button Poetry for allowing me to have a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Normally, when I review book, I have a rating in mind the moment I set it down. Helium, though, was different. I had such conflicting thoughts on it, that I forced myself to sit back, and to ask myself what I had problems with it. And, when I really thought about it, my main problem was the organization. Otherwise, I found the poems to be thought provoking and meaningful, and my e-copy of the book is very heavily highlighted. I actually ended up using a stanza as my senior quote this year, which I wasn’t even expecting.

So, with the organization, the book was separated into chunks, parts, and there were four of them. The sections had no defined theme, and I found some of them to vary around, or even repeat themes that were already discussed. I didn’t mind the poems, oh no, it’s just that I didn’t get what Francisco was getting at. What was really frustrating was how there were sections that had clear themes (like the second one focused on Francisco’s relationship with a woman), but then others would jump all over the place.

I found the rest of the collection enthralling. Some of the poems were really inspirational and hard-hitting and I wanted more of that. Like I said, I ended up using a stanza as my senior quote, just because I found myself relating so much to his words. There were some poems that I really didn’t care for (like the ones about his relationship. But, that’s me, personally), but otherwise I wanted more poems like that. Francisco kind of made me look at poetry differently, because I’ve only ever seen two types of poetry before this: stuff that tries to be all deep and meaningful and just turns out to be a jumble of words, or poems that


one word at a time, not really making these words anything more than words. Francisco changed that though. Poems can still be meaningful but not a jumble of words. Poems don’t have to be one word a line to make sense either.

Final Rating: ★★★★☆


For a book that I randomly chose off NetGalley, I’m really impressed! While I personally had struggles with the organization, and disliked a few of the poems, I overall found myself enjoying the collection and am interested in reading more of Rudy Francisco’s works!

Would I Recommend?

If you like poetry, I would totally suggest this one! Not only is it thought provoking, but it was really interesting, and I wish there had been more to enjoy.


Additional Information:

Published: November 28th, 2017

Publisher: Button Poetry

Page Count: 96

Genre: Poetry

Synopsis: via Goodreads

Helium is the debut poetry collection by internet phenom Rudy Francisco, whose work has defined poetry for a generation of new readers. Rudy’s poems and quotes have been viewed and shared millions of times as he has traveled the country and the world performing for sell-out crowds. Helium is filled with work that is simultaneously personal and political, blending love poems, self-reflection, and biting cultural critique on class, race and gender into an unforgettable whole. Ultimately, Rudy’s work rises above the chaos to offer a fresh and positive perspective of shared humanity and beauty.

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