cover image Brink


Shanna Compton. Bloof (Ingram, dist.), $15 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-0-9826587-2-7

The Brooklyn-based Compton (downspooky) already enjoys some reputation among hipsters, but this third volume is all sorts of breakthrough: in two restrained sequences and two sets of wild, outr%C3%A9, funny stand-alone lyrics, Compton does as much as anyone yet to represent the way her youngish people live now, the alterable, friable, quizzical, digital, comical voice of a plugged-in, sexed-out, and reluctantly but unmistakably political cohort. "My boyfriends unfortunately lack lasers," she complains in a poem called "I Love Men": "thanks to the dulling force of the obvious,/ she LOLs in her cube." Flattened by adult clich%C3%A9s, she (or her temporary mask) declares "Let us creep apart from them%E2%80%A6 I will continue to say dishabille/ as scantily as I envision it." The poems modulate up and down in their kinds of language, from online slang to quiet advice, and from slow, choppy free verse to a sped-up kind with "many a dimpled inflorescence." It's showy, but justifies the show it puts on as a way to depict our quick-change emotions, our (or her, or perhaps her peers') difficulty in settling down: and any reader who thinks Compton's shorter poems shallow, too in thrall to fluidity and experiment, should quiet down and wise up in the last, saddest sequence, a set of not-quite-sonnets about a not-quite-breakup: "She's in one room, he's in another/ and the environment is total winter%E2%80%A6 they might mix like unlucky elements/ and ignite." (July)