Baby, I don’t care

Chelsey Minnis. Wave, $18 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-940696-72-0
Minnis (Poemland) impishly taunts the senses in this scintillating vaudeville of vice, greed, and sexism. Through the sassy, vamp-y, diamond-adorned persona of a self-proclaimed “hungry tigress,” readers are subjected to a sardonic, melodramatic monologue that was “inspired by classic movies” and often feels like a lucid dream. The book is divided into three sections, and the poems fall under the banners of such topics as “Success,” “Boredom,” “Seduction,” and “Depression.” In “Business,” Minnis astutely describes the role of narcissism in romantic love: “There’s a pretty good chance I love you,/ but I’ll have to take it up with my board of directors.” While analyzing “Greatness,” the speaker admits that even a single “word of praise would cause me to act contrary to my own self-interest,” and demands of her “darling” audience a synchronous, egalitarian schedule of physical reaction: “don’t start trembling without me.” She also describes intoxication as an insidious, empty promise: “Are we sleeping or dancing?/ Lunch is poured.// Aren’t I some kind of human being?/ Or am I just a dead swan?/ Baby, why aren’t we drunk?/ Am I swaying?” With an unparalleled sense of absurdist whimsy, Minnis runs through a litany of debaucherous and obsessive behaviors while engendering empathy, curiosity, and self-reckoning. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/20/2018
Release date: 09/01/2018
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-1-940696-71-3
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