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Allegory of the Supermarket: Poems (The Contemporary Poetry Ser.) Paperback – January 1, 1999
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From Kirkus Reviews
Despite some obvious clinkers, this first collection is often very entertaining, which is no easy feat these days: sly and sexy, dry and ironic, jaded and funny, Brown catches you off guard with her playground rhymes and street-song repetitions. And her titles are often a hoot in themselves: I Was a Phony Baloney!, No, No Nostalgia!, Mommy Is a Scary Narcissist, and so on. But the humor isnt all one-note jokes and giggly post-feminist wise-cracks. Many of her character studies verge on diatribe, yet still bear the empathy of one whos been there, done that: in Feminine Intuition, she mocks and mourns female fad- followers, bitter singles, and brittle old ladies; and Five Sketches are spare, cutting portraits of a professional woman, an earth mother, and a Miss America type, with references to legendary difficult women like Mary McCarthy and Clare Luce. Other knowing poems goof on a woman obsessed with working out (a gargoyle for the Age of the Physically Fit); criticize the lipo- sucked; and scorn the sentimentalists (Warm, Fuzzy). Browns wit and anger also target men: the seducers and flatterers, the self-satisfied suburbanites and the beer-gutted bores. Prose poems, a few of which first appeared in the high-brow porno mag Yellow Silk, chart the poets desires through puberty, graduate school, and a near-lesbian encounter, with her eventually abandoning lust for simple sacrifice order and love. It feels a bit padded, but this welcome debut announces a voice both smart and original. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
Here's a poetic voice calling out from a postmodern arcade, where 'each day the sun shines steadily, no more than is necessary,' toward a post-California arcadia, where 'sacrifice, order and love' take on frightening proportions. Richocet off the culture with Stephanie Brown in this debut book, until each poem stops and you are thrown forward, back to your own humanity. That's where one of our voices says, 'Most of all, I would have harmed the soldier whose job it was to kill me.'(Jane Miller)
Brown's tart insights . . . show that humor can sting as well as beguile.(People)