At the great Jacket2, Tinfish Editor Susan Shultz discusses Rambo Goes to Idaho:
In her discussion of empire, race, power, and violence, Shultz writes, "By virtue of his subject position, combined with his politics, Abels cannot assume a position of extremity in either direction. His position is an absurd one, but he has thought his way into that absurdity with a courage different from that of his subject. What his work offers back are the very complexities we are heir to, delivered up not as entertainment for the masses, but for those few of us who read poems. In his 2008 review of the last Rambo movie, A.O. Scott noted that, “the movie does have its own kind of blockheaded poetry.” Abels's poetry is not blockheaded in any way, nor is it particularly cinematic. As work that is neither visual nor violent, it offers us a possible space for meditation, a place from which to contemplate the violence of power, and perhaps another--less entertaining, but more productive--way out of it."