OUR INSOLVENCY by Jeremy Hoevenaar
137 x 197mm, 96 pages, black and white printing, perfect bound, softcover, 2021
With dystopian clarity and a submerged, fugitive generosity, the poems in Our Insolvency register the seismic distortions that the regime of financialization has had on poetic activity and on daily life. Working in an exploratory but anxiously denatured lyric mode — “wedding,” as the critic Thom Donovan puts it, “semiotic overcodification to a vertiginous, aphoristic meditation on the accelerating present” — Hoevenaar guides us in a pilgrim’s progress of interlinked serial poems through the banalized and continuously renegotiated opacity of our technological reality. The exhilaration of idiom here is co-implicated with relentless redevelopment, where leisure is the continuation of work by other means, and where language comes prepacified by democratized corporatese. Of this shrewd austerity Ann Lauterbach writes, “The spare economy of these lines hides a linguistic trove,” repackaging insolvency into a poetic derivative “fueled by a kind of furious condensation.” If dichten once equaled condensare, it must now vie alongside tactics of downsizing, cost savings, efficiency, and optimization — and while poetry says more by saying less, the currency of a word such as gig shades, “just in time,” into gag or even gulag. Hoevenaar’s poems, pieced together with equal parts irony, love, borrowing, and outright theft, embrace their inability to pay their debts. They are not “good for it.” But the hope is that, being good for something, they pay possibilities forward into an as yet unscripted future.
Jeremy Hoevenaar lives in a barrel with his beautiful family. He is the author of Cold Mountain Mirror Displacement (American Books), Our Insolvency (Resolving Host), and Insolvency, Insolvency! (Ugly Duckling Presse).