Deep Code is an apt title for Coletti’s fourth book, an experimental exploration of the border between meaning and meaninglessness. Here, Coletti allows the refracted language of text and Twitter shorthand (“plz,” “b/c,” “@,” etc.) to reverberate in all its strange, ecstatic music: “I don’t want much, but I want ALLLLLLL the experience / put on Charlie Rose / eat cupcakes / HELMET SMASH / read the birth story / over iPhone / & it felt like / it was / the end / & beginning of writing.” Such momentum is typical of Coletti’s poems, which often comprise short-lined single stanzas, plummeting down the page with an intense, insatiable urgency (“I want ALLLLLLL the experience”). Coletti’s work—frequently agrammatical, with a freewheeling relationship to punctuation and capitalization—is very much of our time, both in its language and its references:
Gel-haired American Apparel lump
nut down gumdrop
oh lobe lobe lobe splash splash purge
Kodiak haute bug Gump tooth dip
Deep Code finds Coletti at the height of his artistic project, in full command—or embrace—of the unruliness of language. “Holy Cow,” he exclaims at one point, “I do not like / how plain yr tenderness is”—and so he’s arrived to show us tenderness, and its opposites, in all their splendid, complex forms.
This book review originally appeared in American Poets, Fall-Winter 2014.