Since April is National Poetry Month, I thought it would be appropriate to try my hand at a book of poems. I took one poetry class in college and never felt like I quite “got it”, so I thought maybe I should try giving it another chance. I picked up a book from the New Non-fiction section and started glancing through the pages. One of the first things I read from Leigh Stein’s Dispatch From The Future was “Warning: there are better ways to break a heart than Facebook, such as abandoning your pregnant girlfriend at Walmart like that guy did to Natalie Portman. If you read this book sequentially, bad things may happen to you, but only as bad as the things that would have happened to you anyway”. I was definitely intrigued.
While I found Stein’s imagery and metaphors to be challenging at times, it was a very fun and light read. One of my favorite poems from the collection is Revisionism in which Stein writes, “I’m thinking of rewriting history so instead of jealousy/ my major themes are revenge and justice, and/ I’m going to the airport so we can miss each other more,/ because I want a future to look forward to,/ another new year already, noisemakers/ and dry champagne and songs I know/ the words to and the way you looked at me/ at the costume party: I want another chance/ for second chances. I never make the same mistake/ more than four or twelve times, but enough/ about you, tell me more about you”. Stein’s general commentary on life and what we deem as “important” really makes you think while slightly giggling at the same time. Stein gently points out what a self-involved society we can be at times and really helps readers sort of laugh at themselves. A review of the book by Genevieve Walker of Guernica perhaps describes it best, “Stein’s style…gives voice to an American post-collegiate, prolonged adolescent preoccupation with the defunct social structure that worships credentialed youths while condemning them to debt and precluding them from the workforce”.