Money Shot

Overview

The poems in Money Shot are forensic. Just as the money shot in porn is proof of the male orgasm, these poems explore questions of revelation and concealment. What is seen, what is hidden, and how do we know? Money Shot’s investigation of these questions takes on a particular urgency because it occurs in the context of the suddenly revealed market manipulation and subsequent “great recession” of 2008–2009. In these poems, Rae Armantrout searches for new ways to organize information. What can be made manifest? ...
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Money Shot

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Overview

The poems in Money Shot are forensic. Just as the money shot in porn is proof of the male orgasm, these poems explore questions of revelation and concealment. What is seen, what is hidden, and how do we know? Money Shot’s investigation of these questions takes on a particular urgency because it occurs in the context of the suddenly revealed market manipulation and subsequent “great recession” of 2008–2009. In these poems, Rae Armantrout searches for new ways to organize information. What can be made manifest? What constitutes proof? Do we “know it when we see it”? Looking at sex, botany, cosmology, and death through the dark lens of “disaster capitalism,” Armantrout finds evidence of betrayal, grounds for rebellion, moments of possibility, and even pleasure, in a time of sudden scarcity and relentless greed. This stunning follow-up to Versed—winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award—is a wonderfully stringent exploration of how deeply our experience of everyday life is embedded in capitalism.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her follow-up to the Pulitzer- and National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Versed, Armantrout--who has always built her wily, jumpy, intricately witty and wise poems from scraps of popular and high culture, overheard speech, and found text, as well as her own quirky observations--tackles, in her oblique and inimitable way, what is perhaps the signature issue of the new millennium: money, or, more generally, how everything human has a price. "Hit the refresh button/ and this is what you get," writes Armantrout in "Money Talks": "money pretending/ that its hands are tied." These poems observe a world in which we assign blame to money—or "Mother," "Great angels" and "the objects/ I have caused// to represent me/ in my absence"—rather than take responsibility ourselves. We also mistake superstitious obsession for hard work, believing, for example, "The idea that,/ if I say it well enough,/ fear/ will be gone." And it's a world where degradation is sexy ("They're beneath you/ and it's hot") and "Security cameras/ record each moment, but/ nobody can bear to watch." Armantrout is only getting better: these new poems are among her best, and among the most relevant poems now being written. (Feb.)
Library Journal
In her first book after Versed, winner of last year's Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle award, Armantrout presents 62 poems that showcase the language poetry techniques of quick tonal changes, subject leaps, and the incorporation of white space. The poems move rapidly, partially because Armantrout writes a very short line—often three words or fewer—with many paragraph breaks. Her descriptions have the quality of things glanced at sideways, and she is best at describing unusual details: "All night/ the sea coughs up// green strands." Many poems have two halves that speak about entirely different subjects; the reader must make connections between them. The poems require multiple readings, and sometimes the meanings are still not clear. For example, the title poem begins, "IndyMac:// Able to exploit pre-/existing.// Tain.// Per. In. Con./ Cyst." After research, one finds that IndyMac is a mortgage company involved in the banking and loan failure and "tain" is tin plate or foil. Still, the poet's unique way of observing the world combined with dynamic language creates beautiful sections. VERDICT These poems will appeal to those who like language poetry, but more traditionalists may side with the question posed in the title poem, "Why don't you just say/ what you mean?"—Doris Lynch, Monroe Cty. P.L., Bloomington, IN
From the Publisher
"Her follow up to Versed, the prize-winning volume, is due out from Wesleyan University Press in February, and it's a stunner."—Craig Teicher, Publishers Weekly

"Working from a minimalist position, Armantrout has the ability to magnify the merest of words into an essay. True to the postmodern tradition, she gives no answer to the provocative questions she raises. Instead Money Shot offers sure proof of one thing: A well-wrought book of poems."—John Herbert Cunningham, Rain Taxi

"Armantrout's work is distinguished by, among other things, a sense of economy and elegant precision."—David Wheatley, Times Literary Supplement

“…there are a lot of possibilities. Which is exciting, and frightening…Indeed, the charged openness of language is itself enough to power these poems. What makes Money Shot such a success is Armantrout’s ability to distill this linguistic energy without compromising the ability of these poems to make lucid associative connections…Let’s play a game, Armantrout seems to say. This game has to do with language, and either it will destroy us or leave us alone on a sunny day. Take your pick.”—Nick Sturm, Laurel Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819571304
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 2/8/2011
  • Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
  • Pages: 92
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

RAE ARMANTROUT is a professor of writing in the literature department at the University of California at San Diego, and the author of ten books of poetry.
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Table of Contents

Staging
Colony
The Given
Money Shot
Across
The Agent
Prayers
Sustained
Working Models
The Air
Service Record
Deviled
Measure
Homer
Fuel
The Gift
Dream Life
Spin
Bubble Wrap
Recording
Answer
Day
Eyes
Ground
Autobiography: Urn Burial
Second Person
Number
Warble
Division
Soft Money
Human
Garden
Advent
Chain Chain Chain
Following
Spooks
With
Outage
Border Perfection
Duration
Cancellation
Procedures
The Vesicle
Errands
Midnight
Paragraph
The Hang
Vest
Exact
The Deal
Concerning
Objection
Ends Meet
Over
Sway
Along
Hopscotch
This Is
Money Talks
Long Green
Win
Real Article
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