Poetry. LOSER is a book of two monologues in which the speaker experiences the total destruction of everything they have ever loved.
"A contemporary epic depicted in thready, minute detail, Josef Kaplan's LOSER makes the cheerful assertion that we are all already doomed. And yet; extinction is too easy a beauty. Existing somewhere between the extravagant nihilism of Gregg Araki's CHOOSE DEATH stickers and grandiose theories of the rev, Kaplan does a complex two-step in the narrow margin of collective subjectivity. Playing out the contradictions, pleasures and paradoxes not of pure revolutionary activity, but of what it means to continually fail at revolutionary living, Kaplan exploits the easy slipperiness between Crimethinc.-esque illicit action and carpentry-as-hobby; ally and foe; conspiratory friendship and the smugness of a non-profit liberation still tied to classic rock, crossfit and the strictures of a capitalist world order. Pointedly, for Kaplan, our shortcomings exist equally in the drama of tactical deficiency and the dailiness of choice. Implicating us in the steaky enjoyment of a farm-to-table dinner and the meaty rot of suffering human bodies both, LOSER is a funny, moving acknowledgment that imagining a better world is also knowing all the ways we have inevitably already been defeated. That this knowledge is, in fact, the foundation of doing the work that really matters, even if we fail. And that continuing to fail together could mean the slimmest chance that—dare I even say it—one day we might win."—Trisha Low
"Across the two cascading, Karamazovian poems that comprise LOSER, Josef Kaplan fans the spark of revolution in the face of doom, that catastrophic thing we've learned to accept as the present. Kaplan offers a sinuous depiction of moral perception as it aims to imagine—through a ribald performance of defeat, and a coiling, frothing-at-the-mouth apologia—political mobilization and alliance. With unassuming tenderness, these poems remake the world, 'where / defeat / makes / possible / the shape / of whatever,' by turning nostalgia into dust, and resentment into something far stranger and richer—something like a promise."—Shiv Kotecha
Josef Kaplan is the author of LOSER (Make Now Books, 2021), POEM WITHOUT SUFFERING (Wonder Books, 2015), Kill List (Cars Are Real, 2013) and DEMOCRACY IS NOT FOR THE PEOPLE (Truck Books, 2012). Author City: BROOKLYN, NY USA