Full of zest and flair, Jessen’s poems map constellations of desire, loss and longing. Riffing on the future (which isn’t what it used to be), dating apps, despair, Bonnie Tyler, Taylor Swift and the lesbian Bachelorette, they are set in interstellar queer utopias, maternity wards and single beds.These are poems of sly surprises, radical vulnerability, dark-edged humour and vast originality. Following Jessen’s award-winning verse novel, Gap, this collection confirms Jessen as one of the most engaging and talented writers of her generation.
Want to receive your own fortune? Ask the Oracle about your future.
Praise for Ask Me About the Future:
Loaded with essential contemporary elements, Rebecca Jessen’s poems are the work of a skilful bricoleur – found poems, erasures, a cento, micro prose and recombinations. Her content includes horoscopes, Netflix, dating apps, pop stars, the royal ballet, art exhibitions, sad and sexy queer love, domestic scenes and family crisis. Shadowed by a chronic emptiness — “driving cars worth more than your self esteem” — the poet pursues diagnosis and cure. Often funny, reality tv is détourned to a lesbian Bachelorette and in ‘Vote Yes’ “a pineapple is not a piña colada just because it wants to be”. This assured, eclectic, compassionate book is on a mission, not only to a speculative futuristic utopia of queerness, but is also chasing a reconciliation “with the grief of gender”. It’s spirited, astute and totally up-to-date.
If you wanted to know about the future you wouldn’t expect a neat response would you? Ask Me About the Future’s surprising and sure reinventions of form are one version of the future, and so are its class-tinged mini non-linear narratives. Jessen’s poems explode with multiplicity and humour, but also take quiet times out. Queer can be brash, sure, but there are other tones and structures: borrowed from apparent enemies – and Netflix. You won’t know the answer till the end.
Ask Me About the Future is a book that offers up queer life as found poetry, lines from songs, love like a cut made deep and long. Jessen’s writing is a heart split open, a fist held close, the body always surfacing.
Asking about the past? Read Rebecca’s award-winning verse novel, Gap (2014).