Checking In comprises a long poem and a series of other post-conceptual pieces – concrete poems, homolinguistic translations, Yiddish aphorisms – that offer exuberant commentary on the timelessness of digital information and our ravenous appetite for data and connection.
The title poem, composed as a series of faux social-media updates, is a parodic investigation of contemporary literary and pop culture. As a euphoric parade of “alternative facts” or “fake news,” “Checking In” offers satiric comment on the state of American politics. Each ironically investigative line erupts as a self-reflexive mash-up, speaking to our seemingly insatiable desire for information while acknowledging how fraught that information can be.
The Internet is not only voyeuristic but a mirage. We seek fulfillment but enter an unsettling, uninhibited flow of information in which every data point refers to itself and reinforces a techno-capitalist culture. Checking In founds a site of radical, grafted linkages, codes, indices, ludic identities. An interdisciplinary and paradoxical repository of fragments, analyses, echoes, and provocations, (re)presented in a slippery ellipsis of contexts and possibilities, its poems are inter-subjective theatres of infinite re-framing. From Gargantua and Pantagruel listening to They Might Be Giants to bill bissett and Slavoj Žižek Awake in the Red Desert of the Real, Checking In tours the shards of post-consumerist culture and reminds us we are living in a resonant present, where the past is always with us, and our icons, idols, and ideologies are posting, poking, sharing, and liking …
Karasick’s words luxuriate in the materiality of language and the production of meaning. She checks in with pop culture, media studies, semiotics, critical theory, feminist theory, and contemporary Canadian and American literature. The lover of language play, the poetry reader, and the academic alike will drink in this poet-performer’s concoctions; as ever, they’re fun, smart, and topical.
With full-colour Vispo video stills by Jim Andrews.
Adeena Karasick is a Canadian, New York-based poet, performer, cultural theorist, and media artist and the author of eight books of poetry and poetics. Her Kabbalistically inflected, urban, Jewish feminist mashups have been described as “electricity in language” (Nicole Brossard), “proto-ecstatic jet-propulsive word torsion” (George Quasha), noted for their “cross-fertilization of punning and knowing, theatre and theory” (Charles Bernstein) "a twined virtuosity of mind and ear which leaves the reader deliciously lost in Karasick's signature ‘syllabic labyrinth’” (Craig Dworkin). Most recently is Salomé: Woman of Valor (University of Padova Press, Italy, 2017), and The Medium is the Muse: Channeling Marshall McLuhan (NeoPoiesis Press, 2014). She teaches Literature and Critical Theory for the Humanities and Media Studies Department at Pratt Institute, is co-founding Artistic Director of the KlezKanada Poetry Festival and Retreat, 2016 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Award recipient, and winner of the 2016 Voce Donna Italia award for her contributions to feminist thinking. The Adeena Karasick Archive has just been established at Special Collections, Simon Fraser University.
"Karasick’s sense of play is evident throughout Checking In. Even when describing heartbreak, confusion and other emotionally charged states, the joy she derives from words, from language and from constructing layers of meaning, is obvious."—Jim Andrews, Jewish Independent