cover image Experience in the Medium of Destruction

Experience in the Medium of Destruction

Sara Jane Stoner. Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs (SPD, dist.), $16 trade paper (76p) ISBN 978-0-9907635-0-5

Stoner's extraordinary debut functions as a collection of hybrid poem-essays on subjects of queer discourse, thinly veiled but nonetheless eviscerating critiques of the cisgender male gaze and its ability to destroy all upon which it falls. The speakers of these undefinable texts function simultaneously as both destroyer and destroyed. The book opens with "The Opposition," a manifesto that lists the various fatigues the speaker feels in capitulating to patriarchal structures and corporate interest. No discipline escapes this critique, not even poetry. "Poetry is a kind of fatigue in poetry," Stoner writes, "a gradual erection of a perceptual fa%C3%A7ade that people come to rub out of a need for symptomatic ends." This is a call for the destruction of the infrastructures patriarchy has built, for such infrastructures create psychoses in their inhabitants. The speakers emphasize this notion throughout, via examples of cannibalism and self-cannibalism. The text also instructs: "Have your poet voice ready, for in its neutral striving there will never be neutrality." The speaker implicates the futility of the cis male artist's impulse to erase his own subjectivity from his gaze. Stoner's marvelous declaration of queer gnoseology posits alternative loci for expression in what patriarchy considers "peripheral": a resetting of the margins in the widest arc. (Feb.)