California wildfires, the 2008 election, plastic surgery, Larry Craig, wildfires, Wal-Mart, and rampant commercialism—in Fancy Beasts, Alex Lemon takes on American media culture, the obscene foil for personal legacies of violence and violation.
The poems of this collection are a workout: vigorous and raw, frenetic and fearless. Yet they are also composed and controlled, pared down and sculpted, with a disarming narrative simplicity and directness. Even when dealing with toxic content—including the turning point in a life of abuse, in which the recovering victim/perpetrator puzzles through the paradigm of son-to-husband-to-father—Lemon’s point of view is always genuine and trustworthy.
A frank, funny, and inimitably frenetic vision of post-millennial America, Fancy Beasts is a stunning achievement from Alex Lemon.
Like this book? Sign up for occasional updates
Praise and Prizes
“Once again, Lemon dazzles us with his ability to slice straight through nerve and marrow on his way to the heart and mind of the matter. What I see laid bare here are our American selves, skinned and stretched into haunting souvenirs.”
“A master of negative empathy, Alex Lemon spelunks through the brain’s darker convolutions and clearly enjoys testing the reader’s limits.”
“Full of raw energy, up-to-date in its slang and its jump cuts, effervescent with the playfulness and sometimes the angers of youth . . . but Alex Lemon will not apologize for himself: adult life is a scary gift, a fast trip, a set of close encounters with ‘this fizzing pier life.’”
“Whenever I despair over the abuse of language in our culture or recoil at the non-talk . . . I reach for a volume of poems by Alex Lemon. . . . Life cleverly and joyfully rages in these poems because everywhere in his explosive stanzas is the dry-boned conviction that we are more than a collection of lonely selves seeking aesthetic relief from the great bewilderment of existence.”
“Reading Alex Lemon’s poems is like listening in on the thoughts of one the most imaginative minds you’ve ever encountered, a mind that flits startlingly from image to image, narrative to narrative. . . . But Lemon writes with more than mere flash, for they are also technically sophisticated, highly intelligent, and, often, deeply moving, barely concealing beneath their pyrotechnics an array of voices awash in yearning, sadness, loss, and love. This is a terrific book by one of the best younger poets at work today.”