The Saddest Place on Earth
By Kathryn Mockler
When Donald Rumsfeld briefed his press secretary on how to deal with the media, he said: 'Begin with an illogical premise and proceed perfectly logically to an illogical conclusion?They [the media do it all the time. ' Kathryn Mockler's new collection of poems applies Rumsfeld's ... Read more
When Donald Rumsfeld briefed his press secretary on how to deal with the media, he said: 'Begin with an illogical premise and proceed perfectly logically to an illogical conclusion?They [the media do it all the time. ' Kathryn Mockler's new collection of poems applies Rumsfeld's advice to powerful poetic ends. Deeply interested in American politics and the absurdity of our mediated relation to the political sphere, the beautiful and entertaining narrative poems in The Saddest Place on Earth follow absurd premises to their most logical conclusions. Here, God appears on Oprah, Hurt Feelings and Anger rent a cottage together on Lake Huron for a week in August, and the saddest place on earth is discovered in a Chinese restaurant at the end of a stripmall. Kathryn Mockler's approach to language and the world results in an extremely engaging, moving and often hilarious poetics of deep disorientation.
Kathryn Mockler is the author of four books of poetry and six short films. She is the Publisher of the online climate anthology Watch Your Head and Canada editor of Joyland Magazine. Her debut collection of stories is forthcoming from Book*hug in 2022. She is an Assistant Professor of Screenwriting at the University of Victoria.
“Mockler’s skill with language and narrative beat lends itself well to these unapologetic poems. At times I found myself groaning out loud, or shaking my head to get a grip on what I had just read. There is heart and terrific depth in this work. ”—Canadian PoetriesAt times, the starkness and simplicity of the poems is poignant. In “Air Vents,” Mockler wrestles with a sadly all too familiar social and political theme. The poem reads, “I think about the shooting / because all shootings / are one shooting. I think / about all the places to / hide to avoid bullets: air / vents, storage lockers, / somewhere normal. ” The idea that “all shootings are one shooting” shows the absurdity of mass shootings being labeled with dates, names, and places, and instead, focuses on the loss that affects all. There is also the idea of helplessness, which is a common theme throughout the poems, and the idea of places where one can hide—which, as it turns out—aren’t many and aren’t all that feasible. —Heavy Feather“Every page is a new delightful terror, a horrific tickle. We get to hear about Buddha joining Weight Watchers, God and the Devil sharing the same guest table at a wedding as dates of mutual friends and so on. Today's book of poetry just loved Kathryn Mockler's earnest whimsy. Mockler makes the reader feel like an intimate insider to her slick reason and gymnastic logic. ”—Michael Dennis
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