Money Shot

Rae Armantrout, Author
Rae Armantrout, Wesleyan Univ., $22.95 (88p) ISBN 978-0-8195-7130-4
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 02/01/2011
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-283-10981-9
Open Ebook - 92 pages - 978-0-8195-7131-1
Paperback - 77 pages - 978-0-8195-7314-8
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In her follow-up to the Pulitzer- and National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Versed, Armantrout--who has always built her wily, jumpy, intricately witty and wise poems from scraps of popular and high culture, overheard speech, and found text, as well as her own quirky observations--tackles, in her oblique and inimitable way, what is perhaps the signature issue of the new millennium: money, or, more generally, how everything human has a price. "Hit the refresh button/ and this is what you get," writes Armantrout in "Money Talks": "money pretending/ that its hands are tied." These poems observe a world in which we assign blame to money—or "Mother," "Great angels" and "the objects/ I have caused// to represent me/ in my absence"—rather than take responsibility ourselves. We also mistake superstitious obsession for hard work, believing, for example, "The idea that,/ if I say it well enough,/ fear/ will be gone." And it's a world where degradation is sexy ("They're beneath you/ and it's hot") and "Security cameras/ record each moment, but/ nobody can bear to watch." Armantrout is only getting better: these new poems are among her best, and among the most relevant poems now being written. (Feb.)
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