Poet Margaret Christakos, throughout her eight previous poetry collections, has created ruptures and splices inside of and against the limits of the confessional lyric, often using recombinatory procedures, cyclical and serial structure, and enmeshing intimate vernacular with highly aestheticized language in writing that explores maternality, sexuality and intimate address.
In her new collection, Multitudes – where cellphone tweets snipe 'y wd I nd/ 2 spk 2 u?' alongside echoes of aria, chant and dirge – Christakos freshly pairs Whitman's 'Song of Myself' with an inquiry into the subjective thresholds of digital social media, where individuals conduct flamboyant acts of self-portraiture, testimonial, self-commodification, erotic self-dispersal and indelible spectacle.
Multitudes is a moving, witty, poetic foray into a modern frontier of public spaces (city hall square, park, cemetery, bicycle path), poetic forms, private longings and virtual relocations. With her trademark linguistic sonar, Christakos amplifies the capacity of language to discern an almost inherent swingdoor between 'moaning' and 'meaning,' while casting a discouraged eye on how human discernment is used to rigidify recognitions, inviting citizens to turn from ethical social activism to snitch on their Facebook friends after an urban hockey riot.
'Alphabetic dismantling, syntactic play, essaying words backwards and 4words (as she might say), Christakos manifests forensic clarity and telegraphic fortitude in this unsettling work.' – Rachel Blau DuPlessis