- Paperback: 200 pages
- Publisher: Black Ocean; First Edition edition (August 18, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1939568072
- ISBN-13: 978-1939568076
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,736,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I am not sure how much of my sense of disconnect here is due to the actual work or to the fact that these poems were invited by the editor for a special volume on Privacy and surveillance. Andrew Ridker states in his Introduction that thee poems were solicited in the summer of 2013 amidst the Edward Snowden and NSA surveillance disclosures. He requested specific poets to write about “surveillance;” any and all aspects and forms it wears. The collection does represent a broad range of poets, schools of poetry, and age. He does make important the role of poetry as a political vehicle. Poetry has relevance, no matter when it was written and much of it is specific to a named time and place. As Ridkin comments: “This is poetry as it looks in the twenty-first century, and it is looking right back. (introduction).” And the authors are listed in numeric order according to their social security numbers (!) – numbers created solely for the use of the SSA in distributing FDR’s new benefits, and later, for the IRS in tax collection. (Social Security Act of 1935; P.L. [H.R. 7260])
I did enjoy EJ Koh’s “Clearance.” The irony and truth in it was delicious. Dara Wier’s Reverse Surveillance” also caught my attention, repeatedly. There was something in the way she spoke to “me” (you). It was about being watched but even deeper, about being vanished. Anthony McCann’s “Prodigals” was a study in luscious and evocative language. I also liked how the feeling of edginess ran throughout the poem, ambiguity and meaning open on the edge of the cliff.