cover image Monetized


Alissa Quart. Miami Univ., $16 trade paper (122p) ISBN 978-1-881163-56-5

Quart (Branded), editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, makes her poetry debut with a collection of verse that critiques hypercapitalism's media-addled commodification of experience. She almost gleefully pokes fun at the lack of space for the human in contemporary lifestyles: "And now. You are living the app./ A pop-up. La Vida App!" And she likens the human soul to currency: "You are something waiting to be nothing or vice/ versa. As value is circulation." Along with this appraisal comes a reflection on collective nostalgia for a simpler, analog time. "My auto-fill always writes Dear Mom and Dad," Quart writes, as if reverting to an earlier kind of reference point is nearly unavoidable in the current landscape. "It seems the 1960s/ were only good for/ the people in them," she reflects, "I am only trying to make/ sense of what came later." She also reports on the present as if explaining the world to a reader living in a previous decade: "Now, the ads talk to us all/ in cars. Bus stops move with// product. Streaming, advertorial, posted, scraped,/ mined. Reading is fracking.// BabywithiPad.jpg." Quart's lyric poems can feel cold and intellectually distant, but they also reveal her keen sociological eye and serve as remarkably apt cultural critiques. (Mar.)