cover image Negative Money

Negative Money

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram. Soft Skull, $13.99 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-59376-753-2

Bertram (Travesty Generator) blends irreverence, honesty, and formal play in poems that bear witness to the precarity of living on the margins of society. One poem begins, “My eyes are now wide open/ to our moment’s desperate light,” speaking to Bertram’s greater project of leaving the reader with an increased awareness of the fragility, absurdity, and loneliness of the world. Bertram’s writing is filled with moments of blunt reckoning, as in one poem that offers the brief but echoing recognition that “America is expensive.” In another, they write: “It’s tricky work saving white people from themselves.” Throughout, the understanding that “we are poor in every corner/ of the world” challenges and complicates the role of language as it dissects a collective reality through individual experience. “The other side of the future world,” Bertram warns, “is/ just another future this.” This profound book will stir readers into necessary reflection. (June)