An introspective debut collection of poetry.
In Sokolovsky’s work, the notion of identity is amorphous and ineffable. His collection is constantly riddled with references to other works, tropes, and motifs, and its allusions to real-life scenarios are affectingly palpable: “We dribbled puberty down our chins / over bowls of Captain Crunch / while Wonder Woman taught us / that S&M with a truth-telling / golden lasso was just good clean fun.” This unapologetic tone allows the poems to capture readers’ attention and to refract, through unevenly metered verses, a strong feeling of authenticity. Sokolovsky’s speaker tells of his experience growing up with a health food–obsessed mother (“if someone / out there made broccoli-cauliflower swirl flavored / ice cream, shit you could bet it was in our freezer”) while also relating the everyday life of an adult who tries to protect himself with poiesis rather than suffer through contemporary political horrors: “It’s just too beautiful on this June morning / sitting at a cafe across the bay from Alcatraz / to get trapped in the giant forest of serious questions / about global warming and nuclear winter.” This doesn’t make the speaker a complacent citizen, however; the book is fundamentally aware of capitalistic agendas, the risks of globalization, and the difficulties of memory—which can, in itself, be a political weapon. Most importantly, though, Sokolovsky has composed poems that are viscerally connected to daily life, and they thrive when exploring the past as the ultimate creator of identity. The past in question, however, isn’t always the speaker’s: “Today, I feel like the fifth horseman: / neutral, khaki-colored apathy trailing / behind the other four, like someone / waiting on a laundromat bench, / feeling as mundane as a Tuesday / in a month with no holidays.” In this way, Sokolovsky paints a tableau of a collective human experience.
A poignant book of affective and tragic poetic