Sara Deniz Akant’s Hyperphantasia explodes the sonnet’s sonic and imaginative capabilities via infestation dreams, open tabs, and other disruptive forms of longing and (dis)belonging: the epistolary, epic, ballad, or just “some oracle shit” (history). Phanta—our AI BFF, echoing troll, or spiritual center—sweetly sings a “nekromantic soundtrack” into the reader’s ear through the “holographic non-place” of dove-robots, sleeping boyfriends, murderous grooms, and empty code. In these broken songs, “the women haunt themselves” through the quotidian trappings of daily routine: unanswered letters, dreamscapes, and ritualized obsessions. And yet, Akant’s celebratory second collection refuses to make precious bores of gender, grief, lust, or life. Just like the eponymous hero and prismatic villain of Phanta herself, the trash in these poems not only “sucks our hunger dry” but also “multiplies" in an attempt to reclaim the (often damning) myths that surround the culturally mixed, feminized body.
“Drawing from tropes of the abject feminine in vintage horror and confessional poetry, Sara Deniz Akant’s poems move between epistolary and diary in letters and confessions to and from Phanta—a mechanical hydra, a spider, a sequential self-attracting many-sexed organism, an artificial intelligence, a ‘broken device filled with children.’ Phanta has been the ringtone on the self-help hotline and the footnote in the DSM case study and the author of herself. This is a book made of milk, blood, cum, sap, piss, yolk, and sweat—like being, suddenly, the living part of a Kiki Smith installation. Akant writes: ‘unpacking Phanta / is like: poem, poem, poem, porn.’ It really is.” — Divya Victor
“There’s a stubborn beauty in these pieces; the poems erupt the same moment they’re read. Akant’s HYPERPHANTASIA does something akin to excavation in its preoccupation with fragments and how they dialogue together: names, houses, bodies, cities, machines. The self, the narrator, is kaleidoscopically scattered, threaded throughout with the persistently honest chatter of Phanta: the observer-effect put on full display.” — Hala Alyan
“With sonic reverberations of Turkish, phone mistranslations and ‘garbage texts,’ Akant’s haunting work captures the strangest moments at the end of the world—a wedding where the groom looks to the crowd and asks ‘what’s the fucking point?’ as the speaker searches his pockets for drugs. In these dazzling poems, the self is a mask making new worlds from the dead—a ghost crawling out of bed—and the defiant speaker stranded in her own digital terror.” Sandra Simonds
“HYPERPHANTASIA features a recurring cast of characters who flit across the pages—heard and misheard phrases echoing around a recognizable and harsh environment—mysteriously rendered into poetry. Sara Deniz Akant is a kind of witch, and this book forges a new genre of alchemical realism.” —Chris Kraus
“If racial capitalism has chopped us up into tiny lil’ pieces, who says those shards can’t scream-sing themselves toward another life? Pizza Bagels™, Charmander, your father’s unfurling tongue, a collection of white girls, the therapist’s parrot wilding out in the closet—you are stuffed with multitudes, Sultan Saroh! If you have any ‘undealt with trauma,’ please do read this book. Akant has carved out a space for us to let our visions grow a spine and have a fucking life!” —Jennifer Tamayo
“Akant conjures the ancestral surrealism, something long before the word knew itself. The life we trust becomes a blast of light through a new and clear lens with this book. Do you also love to loiter in weird and brilliant poems until your purpose for being there becomes clear? Well, here we are; I am glad we found our way to these codes and keys of the Deniz Dimension.” —Ca Conrad
Poetry. Hybrid. Women’s Studies.
Author Website New York Times Best Poetry Book of 2022
Turkish-American poet and performer Sara Deniz Akant was born and raised in New York. She is the author of BABETTE (Rescue Press, 2015), selected by Maggie Nelson; Parades (Omnidawn, 2014), selected by Gillian Conoley; and Latronic Strag (Persistent Editions, 2015). Her poetry has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, The Denver Quarterly, and Lana Turner.Author City: NEW YORK, NY USA