Stephen Bett’s new book of poetry Re-positioning is based on a hilarious soft-porn spoof. Each poem begins with a simple blank-face, stark naked line drawing of “boy & girl next door” figures in utterly physically impossible sexual “positions.” Accompanying the text are witty cultural or literary allusions, a calorie burn count for “him” & “her,” equipment required (deodorant, etc.), cautions & hazards (such as requiring a lawyer and/or chiropractor). In this volume, Bett is riffing on language itself. These humorous, self-referential poems are tied to the langue, the argot, not just comic satire. There’s an effort at a more serious humour underlying cultural and philosophical issues that seem to plague us in our increasingly vapid monoculture.
Bett’s works are characteristically sharp and superficially simple. Yet
they mask a sincere emotion which, in subsequent readings, grows deeper with intensity.
Brevity yields nuances, words become packed with unsaid dialogue, lines are meant
to be read ‘in between.’
Bett has published eleven books of poetry including Track This: a book of
relationship (BlazeVOX Books), S PLIT (Ekstasis Editions) and Extreme
Positions: the soft-porn industry exposed (Spuyten Duyvil Books). A twelfth
book is forthcoming in 2012: The Gross & Fine Geography: New & Selected
Poems (Salmon Poetry, Ireland). His work has also appeared in well over 100
literary journals in Canada, the U.S., England, Australia, New Zealand, and Finland,
as well as in three anthologies, and on radio. He lives in Vancouver. For reviews
of his books, please see www.stephenbett.com.
6 x 9