Empire Wasted

Becca Klaver. Bloof, $16 trade paper (116p) ISBN 978-0-9965868-4-9
Klaver (LA Liminal), a cofounder of Switchback Books, exudes soul and wit in equal measure as she dissects the artistic mind, the idea of the millennial, and life in a metropolis of “hot dog steam, Bergdorf Goodman/ umbrellas and Prada.” Describing the liminal space between reality and imagination, Klaver wanders “the long halls maybe of my mind/ But maybe of a city that’s real.” She pokes fun at the subversive aspirations of her millennial co-generationalists in a litany about “The revolution,” where she writes, likely with herself in mind, “The revolution has vowed to use its chin-up bar every morning/ The revolution left its keys in the door.” But she really nails the rapturous yet frequently beleaguered domestic partnership New Yorkers share with their city: “underemployed/ underimagined/ we lack the slacker’s/ romance/ and hardly even crave/ or hear of it/ anymore/ here in the mourning/ metropolis/ of/ lassitude.” Klaver’s work is casually erudite, wryly observational, and thoughtfully whimsical. Those characteristics, when combined with her persistent and hypnotic use of repetition, swift wordplay, and punch lines delivered between moments of lush symbolism and satire, would qualify her as a member of a 21st-century New York School of poetry. Attuned to and critical of pop culture spectacle, Klaver charms and skewers with a sense of audience-conscious magnanimity. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/21/2016
Release date: 11/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
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