From Lucky Magazine to Lyrical Sonnets / Hyperallergic


CHICAGO — Simone de Beauvoir once said, “Buying is a profound pleasure.” To shop, to consume, to purchase a new look even if it’s temporary — an air of satisfaction accompanies that moment of credit card swiping, or handing over that stack of Ben Franklins. It’s just money, honey, but in that moment before reason sets in, those hard-earned dollars translate into consumer-driven “freedom.” Not that we’re ever really free under capitalism or patriarchy, those undercurrents of American consumer culture, but getting lucky means the freedom to buy. And buying is for the lucky ones who know how to spend.

Nicole Steinberg’s petite book of poetry Getting Luckypublished by Denton, Texas–based Spooky Girlfriend Press, offers images of the deliberately feminine consumer, glossy versions of women who have it all and want some more. The text for this collection of sonnets is plucked from the editorial copy of Lucky, the “magazine about shopping.” Yet unlike the magazine, these poems are organized by seasons of the year that don’t always correspond to a change of clothes, suggesting that they could take place in high-gloss, endless summer climates like Los Angeles, Miami, and Austin. Filled with references to pop culture, film, TV, and music, the textual arrangements are equal parts Katy Perry pure saccharine, Swan Lake born-to-die ballerina, Edward Scissorhands androgyny, and the wispy ash of a cigarette that was flicked somewhere between a winding road in Beverly Hills and a white cube in Soho. Each woman that Steinberg creates is a composite of women who exist on screens and in pages. Is that the Kirsten Dunst or an ordinary woman who’s her doppelgänger? It doesn’t matter, because each woman is a mediated version of her self and shadow, of tightly clad shell and loosely fitting structure.

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