TRAVESTY58: LAKE POEMS by Jay Gao
A5, 44 pages, black and white printing, saddle stitched, 2022
In Jay Gao's new pamphlet, ‘virtual ghosts’ reconfigure inert, recently shed skin to create an opaque shelter. For whom? Questions of home and touch co-mingled, for me, to generate a poetics both bodily and with-held. From whom? Thinking is private. ‘EMPTIED. BACKSPACE’. Yes. Like that. — Bhanu Kapil
Jay Gao shreds the received text of the I Ching, smashes hegemonic translations with new procedures, pollutes nostalgia with corrupted files. TRAVESTY58 is meta data take over, a machine rereading with an oracular bent. The poet as mechanical Turk finds affinity with other lowly devices: printers, electric toothbrushes, and surveillance cameras. White is excretion, excess, scum. The page is toxic, melted, but also polished, varnished. Finding joy in the de-familiar, these poems harness the critical forces of detritus and refusal. — J. R. Carpenter
Jay Gao is the author of Imperium (2022), forthcoming from Carcanet Press, as well as the poetry pamphlets, TRAVESTY58 (2022), Katabasis (2020), and Wedding Beasts (2019). He is a Contributing Editor for The White Review. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, he is currently studying for an MFA at Brown University.