Adeena Karasick’s startling and arresting work constantly de-contextualizes and re-contextualizes language: its signs, signifiers, images, ideograms, pictograms, lexicography and syntax. In doing so, it leads us into the subliminal, where it foregrounds memories, associations, archetypes, metaphors and other elements of the subconscious usually well and deeply suppressed in the communications we construct to repress as much as we reveal in our conversations of the everyday. This constant rupture of desire, of language struggling against its bonds and restraints, literally in spite of itself, is what becomes both visceral and palpable in an encounter with Karasick’s images as they turn into texts, and texts into images.
Karasick’s work first encounters, then reveals, and finally resists the growing cornucopia of privatized fear—the increasingly ubiquitous metanarrative of the public space that surrounds us—in the iconography of safety manuals, the illusions of choice represented and delimited by menus in both the digital and the analogue world of “messaging,” the increasingly circumscribed and xenophobic discourse of politics and public policy, and the barbed-wire garrisons we found with our constructs of identity.
Mashing up the lexicon of war with post-industrial consumerism, haute cuisine, couture, language, Eros and desire, Karasick’s sixth book serves up a linguistic onslaught of plastic explosives. Whether exploring commas as the mistresses of language, rules of textual engagement read through systems of courtship, a love song to Osama bin Laden, or a sassy send-up of Hollywood Kabbalah, Amuse Bouche is at once dark and satirical, exuberant and amorously rigourous—it will make your body politic tremble, your head spin and your mouth water. Her Katyusha-garnished, encrusted margins will leave you salivating long after the bomb, that ever-present yet elusive threat of instantaneous deconstruction, has dropped into our moveable feast, and silenced the babble of tongues our global discourse has become.
Adeena Karasick is a poet, cultural theorist and the critically acclaimed author of seven books of poetry and poetic theory. She is currently Professor of Global Literature at St. John’s University. Her writing has been described as “electricity in language” and noted for its “cross-fertilization of punning and knowing, theatre and theory”. Karasick is a featured poet on the Heart of a Poet series and is the winner of the MPS Mobile Award recognizing her as being the world’s first “Mobile Poet”.
“If today or in the future I were to knock on Karasick’s poem-door, and ask (assuming appropriate familiarity), ‘Can Adeena come out and play?’ I have little doubt that the answer would be, ‘Yes!’ and that right quick she’d be out on the porch and just like that she’d lexically skip and cartwheel down the street and around the corner, heading right to wherever it was that the words promised the most fun that day. I’d happily try to keep up with Karasick, just to see where she went and what kind of fun she got into. Even if she stumbled a bit, or took a wrong turn or two along the way, I’m sure it’d be, for my mind, a real good, a most interesting, time.”