Poetry. Named for a fast-food sandwich and written during rounds of chemo, Ted Rees's second book is a poem comprising 498 linked haiku and sent coursing through the "cemetery / Of repressed anguish" that is America. The haiku form, which should dilate into bowers of momentous stillness, succumbs in Rees's narrative extrusion to a torrential historicity: the poem moves at the relentless pace of a police scanner, dream-fed on Cinnabon and petroleum byproducts, a stream of consciousness that is at once revenue stream, live stream, blood stream, click stream, stream dammed to flood and tapped for bottled water. The old transparent eyeball and anaphoric "I" of the pioneer imaginary, profligate as Johnny Appleseed sowing virgin lands with exclamation points, are bounced as trappings of colonial venturing. Rees's "wild mad" song counters the barbarism of the imperial yawp, burrowing underneath the remote-investment realtyscape of payday loan franchises, strip-mall churches, and detention centers doubling as urgent care clinics. If not precisely hopeful, the poem hints at the isolated prospect of relations running counter to accumulation, of affect eluding capture, of guarded solidarity among those sheltering in the crooks and crannies of blasted overburden: preteen pyros torching lilacs in the dooryard, dropouts lighting out for the backcountry, and militant recusants disappearing into abandoned office parks. THANKSGIVING is a queer and delirious poem of making do in the long tail of empire.
author siteCam Scott @ Poetry Project Newsletter
Ted Rees is a poet, essayist, and editor who lives and works in Philadelphia. His most recent book of poetry, THANKSGIVING: A POEM (Golias Books, 2020), was a finalist for a 2021 Lambda Literary Award. His first book was IN BRAZEN FONTANELLE AFLAME (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2018) and chapbooks include the soft abyss, The New Anchorage, and Outlaws Drift in Every Vehicle of Thought. He is the founder and co- editor of Asterion Projects, and editor-at-large for The Elephants.Author City: PHILADELPHIA, PA USA