Civilization Makes Me Lonely

Civilization Makes Me Lonely

by Jennifer Nelson


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Poetry. Art. Winner of the 2016 Sawtooth Prize. The poems in Nelson's CIVILIZATION MAKES ME LONELY present a plethora of resistances to normalization. The resistances are anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti- misogynist; they include fantasies of subverting surveillance technology and big-data algorithms; and sometimes they rely on breakdowns of communication into sonic mimicry, as in a series of poems gibbered by the "Sleeper" agent. Grief about failed escape attempts yields not to optimism about any future, but rather to a reorganization of history as permanently open to multiple meanings. Nelson, an art historian, believes in "art's power to reform bad archives."

"This book is wicked. Who knew that poetry could frack the totality?"—Anne Boyer

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781934103753
Publisher: Ahsahta Press
Publication date: 04/01/2017
Pages: 104
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Jennifer Nelson is an art historian and a poet. Her first book of poems is AIM AT THE CENTAUR STEALING YOUR WIFE (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015). She teaches in the department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Table of Contents

To My Dear Ironists vii

Here, Too 1

The Protest Market 2

But I Need a Certain Song (Reprise) 4

I'm Coleridge But I Think Carlyle is Hot 6

I Told Wu Hung That Art Polices Absence 8

Kill Trying 9

You Can't Actually Kill Your Parents 10

Innocence Is Increasing Everywhere 13

Ars academica 17

Let Me Be Lonely 18

The Baby Has a Beautiful Icelandic Name 19

In My Aspect As Survivor 22

The Hour 23

Normal Sonnet 25

Autumn Gentrification 26

I Dó Love Thee, I Dó Love Thee 27

Bright Means Sharp 29

Unsayable and Right Here 30

Locus Multus. The Sleeper

After the hunt ended in an old gymnasium 33

I'm still infiltrating the lair of the boss who is me 35

There was no light I turned off my light to see 37

In the basement before I lost my faculties 39

The right mission on the wrong plane 41

My code name on the job was armistice 43

If sameness works only probabilistically 47

These are the ways in which we keep 51

Personal information private 51

Murder, She Wrote Art History as Ekphrasis 52

The Rosedark Agent of Horses 54

Please Let Us Live 56

The Dunes of Lake Michigan 57

The Control Room

Andrea and the Long Puree 61

In the Course of Defining Computing as Predictive Counting 62

Proliferation Zero One 63

Ruth, amid the Alien Corn 64

Ode to Autumn 66

Tacente (#:##:## AM): please accept my resignation 68

The Control Room

Acts of the Academics I 73

Acts 2 74

Poem for Kevin 75

Red Sonnet 76

Goth Pastoral 77

Abaddon 82

On Vows Rashly Taken 83

Acknowledgments 85

About the Author 87

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