reviews

PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY: Bad Bad Review

Juvenile mockery of poetry and the American poetry establishment, as well as excited reverence for both, are the themes of Minnis’s second collection. Sixty-eight prose Prefaces open the book, chastising career-minded poets (“You should not think of getting a job with your poetry…/ …/ Poetry careers are a bad business”) while spelling out her own manifesto: “I want to write a poem because I don’t feel very boring!” In the middle are nine extended examples of the kind of lyric that filled Minnis’s debut, Zirconia, in which dots, periods or ellipses sprawl across the page, interrupted by lyric outbursts: “if you will promise……. to be a young girl…/ ……… I will give you a moustache.” Many, most even, may find these dots distracting or annoying, though it’s interesting to ponder their meaning. The book closes with alternately compelling and silly prose and verse pieces, including an anti-résumé: “1996/ No car.// Apply for no teaching jobs. Don’t publish book.” Petulant, clever, sometimes funny, sometimes irritatingly flippant, Minnis’s poems will inspire questions as to whether this work qualifies as poetry at all, though some readers—fans of, say, Bill Knott, at his silliest—may find much to like.