Why I read it: I've known Dom for maybe seven years, because he's a senior sempai in my karate club.
What I liked: The poems about Japan and karate and Cole -- especially the one about Sensei, because I know both Sensei and Com; and the poem about the man Dom roomed with in Japan. I think I liked the japanese stuff because the "outsider looking in" stuff was more relevant to me.
What I hated: Well, I didn't really hate them, but the poems that were about being Italian growing up in Toronto or Saskatchewan or wherever, because I'm not and I didn't. Poetry is like that -- sometimes it just doesn't resonate. Actually, the one about Saskatchewan, where it mentioned that everyone looked at them like they were the local mafia, that one made me laugh out loud. Because every town needs a tiny mob family made up totally of outsiders with no connections. They would have been like the opposite of mafia, in my opinion.
But anyway, the ones I didn't like as much might have been influenced by the fact that I was reading the book while I was at karate camp, and people were bugging me to go get my oboe for sing-along with Sensei, and telling me odd tales about the Simon Howell-ness of their instructor in "Advanced Preaching", and asking me to please give it up so other people could look at it. Also I started at the back and worked frontwards, which I suppose is probably not how it was meant to be experienced. If it came by my way again, I would probably take another look at it, just to see.
What I can steal: Contacts and influence? I don't know.