Graywolf Press, 9781555973810, 64pp.
Publication Date: May 1, 2003
"Barter exchanges history for myth, direct speech for epistles, activity for observation . . . breathtaking." —Claudia Rankine
Felix the Rat's hind feet
could be Barbie hands—
same pink, same
injection-molded seaming.—from "Electronica"
The poems in Barter, Monica Youn's exciting first collection, negotiate transactions between scarcity and excess, pornography and abstraction, the thing and the thing seen. Rendered with a dazzling array of structures and allusions, these poems describe—and become—a strange gallery of paintings and portraits. She offers a Polaroid left on a windshield, step-by-step instructions for "Drawing for Absolute Beginners," a stereoscope with a box of slides. Both an homage to and a warning against nonexistent things, Barter introduces a vibrant new voice and a new way of seeing.