Elaine Equi's latest book of poems examines the clutter of technology in people's everyday lives and questions art's role amid the cacophony. The physical body is juxtaposed with its virtual representation; face-to-face interaction is considered along with virtual forms of social networking. The poems examine dreams, performance, and other "hyper-real" aspects of contemporary existence. In "Designer Gloom," Equi writes
....but ruin today
Hasn't the proper time to decompose itself.
Scandal is too swift; the new overtakes
Nowhere is there a poet
who sings the sanitized decadence of our times.
Equi's name-dropping of fellow poets and friends, her use of various forms—from dialogue script to sonnet to one-line aphoristic phrase—gives this collection an energetic charm and, as Charles Bernstein writes, the ability to "punch 'wholes' into the multiverses of pop and splendor, short and longing, prose and dreams."
This book review originally appeared in American Poets.