Things Just Aren't They / James Payne

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Things Just Aren't They / James Payne

12.00

Things Just Aren’t They, James Payne’s first full-length poetry collection, is an incendiary and comic lament for the deformation of self under capitalism. Primarily situated in the Midwestern city of Columbus, Ohio, Payne’s poems disentangle the processes of power permeating cultural spaces—office, gallery, university, and punk scene—in a voice moving between polemicist and romantic; satirist and true believer. Through exhaustive alluding and detailing, Payne re-historicizes, re-politicizes, and re-constructs our present moment, pulling it from the wake of an era characterized as post-historical and apolitical. In Things Just Aren’t They it is 2015, 1968, 1789, 1492, and You Are Here Now, bearing a palimpsest of years, riven inexplicably into consciousness, body, sex, race, class, city, society, country, history, identity, and asking, overtly or not—Why are we here? Payne’s poems orbit that impossible question, shooting off like light in every direction in an attempt to elucidate, change the route, and reframe the narrative until it’s within reach to erase.

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Published 20 October 2015

Poetry • MHP-013
Perfect bound • Paperback
159 pp • 4.25 x 7 • ♾

ISBN 10 • 0-9860461-2-4
ISBN 13 • 978-0-9860461-2-4

Distribution • SPD
 

‘I didn’t even have to move to New York,’ writes James Payne. ‘I found out I could have my dreams crushed / right here.’ In this wild, cutting, and very smart collection, a man is placed on the wall like a painting because ‘[t]here’s a hole to hide,’ while the writing is hellbent on leaving nothing unexposed. Things Just Aren’t They—whether in rangy, operatic complaints or terse little bean poles of poems—skewers capitalism, consumerism, narcissism, elitism, the art world, the debt state, snobs on the East Coast, snobs in Ohio, and many, many other worthy targets. It’s also—and I don’t say this lightly—really, truly, uncommonly fucking funny. Read it right now.

Natalie Shapero
 

Things Just Aren’t They compels the reader with its honest criticality while acknowledging how even the most necessary measures are still likely to be the most unbearable. How to fulfill the call to ‘OCCUPY EVERYTHING’ when you ‘don’t even feel like being in [your] own body’—how to tear it all down to find ‘After the revolution: life.'

Cassandra Troyan
 


POEMS FROM THE BOOK
 

The Best Of All Possible Worlds
(Cityscapes)

Business Tripping
(Keep This Bag Away From Children)

EndYC
(Monster House)


James Payne is a graduate student in Art History at the Freie Universität Berlin and Indiana University. Payne has curated several punk houses and art spaces in the Midwest. He is a freelance writer and poet whose collection Things Just Aren't They was published in 2015 by Monster House Press. E: james.payne.cc@gmail.com IG: @james.d.payne