Duh, It’s Postmodern Poetry / Hyperallergic

Cover of Jon Rutzmoser’s “shhhh! it’s poetry” (all images courtesy Jon Rutzmoser and Insert Blanc Press)

Cover of Jon Rutzmoser’s “shhhh! it’s poetry” (all images courtesy Jon Rutzmoser and Insert Blanc Press)

Jon Rutzmoser’s thin book of poetry packed with thick descriptions of dicks, dire and dramatic Oedipal complexes, heavy-petting psychoanalytic theory references, and Disneyland descriptors made me laugh, pissed me off, had me rolling my eyes, and had me wondering what it means to write poetry today. I don’t write poetry; I quit in high school in search of something bigger and better — journalism or art criticism, maybe? — but every writer works with words, and every word has a meaning beyond its meaning meaning, its syntax or context or distance from the word before. Playing with words is a joyful exercise for every writer, and for some artists, too, like Ryan Trecartin, who, of course, Rutzmoser references in shhhh! it’s poetry. The 66-page book published by the Los Angeles–basedInsert Blanc Press contains poetry of such joyful, spontaneous, erotic nature that I easily drifted off and thought about masturbating while thinking that Rutzmoser may also have been masturbating while he wrote these poems, and sometimes he could have just jerked off and it would have been just as well.

That’s not a critique of the book. Well, it kind of is. There’s a lot of jerking off here, wordplay mental masturbation, if you will. Divided into two parts — “part one / complexion” and “part two / post!modern” — the book begins like any disassociated writerly manifesto: with an eight-part poem entitled “after ph_ll_s.” I assumed this was referring to “phallus,” but no, it’s a character named Phillis, possibly a grandmother, a mother, a vessel of a female form; it’s also codeword for phallus, the reason that a character named Susan was born. By section vi, we discover “susan … who is … phillis … now,” and then section vii drifts into what reads like a seduction scene from Sunset Boulevard“darling … spoon me … this second … this hand couch holds … ” Or whatever.

Read the full review here: http://hyperallergic.com/116872/duh-its-postmodern-poetry/