Poetry. LGBT Studies. As with many books, description of Chris Nealon's latest, fails, yet in this case it also, unusually, falls. A few moments of demonstration rather than description: "nothing you read will help you now"; "I am not gay, I am from the future!"; "Classicism: build your buildings so that even conquering hordes will be like, No way." PLUMMET is a post-catastrophic work written largely before the current all-American, i.e., global, plunge—imagine a kind of clairvoyant O'Hara distracted by Adorno, and Bear Stearns. It's that pit of the stomach feeling, when plummeting one goes from high to low—that's that pit of the stomach feeling—in the pit, of the stomach. "Will there be sirens? Toxins? I imagine violence miming reconciliation and then back again."The Believer reporter Stephen Burt observed of his previous collection THE JOYOUS AGE that "Nealon's bracing and bitter debut both enters and mocks the tradition of kaleidoscopic, difficult poetry as grand social critique, and makes most new work in that mode sound sloppy or bland by contrast." In other words, as it says in this new collection, "[l]ifted from the cadences you know and then let fall."
Chris Nealon is the author of two books of literary criticism, Foundlings: Lesbian and Gay Historical Emotion before Stonewall (Duke UP, 2001), and The Matter of Capital: Poetry and Crisis in The American Century (Harvard UP, 2011), as well as three books of poems: THE JOYOUS AGE (Black Square Editions, 2004), PLUMMET (Edge Books, 2009), and HETERONOMY (Edge Books, 2014). He teaches in the English Department at Johns Hopkins University, and lives in Washington, DC. Author City: BALTIMORE, MD USA