The Apartment of Tragic Appliances
Peanut Books (a literary offshoot of punctum books)
Brooklyn, NY: Peanut Books, 2013. 82 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0615792484. OPEN-ACCESS e-book and $9.00 [€7.00] in print: paperbound/5.75 X 11 in.
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I remember hearing a story that might not be true: Isak Dinesen eating nothing but white grapes, oysters, and Chardonnay until she died, presumably in a fur coat. This book knows everything I love about that story—but no way no how is it going down like that.
~Lucy Corin, author of One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses (McSweeney’s, 2013)
We have been missing poems like these for a long time. It’s as if one were overhearing the grotesque and beloved “Matthew mighty-grain-of-salt O’Connor” coming through James Merrill’s Ouija board. Michael Snediker is one of the most original and affecting poets of his generation.
~Daniel Tiffany, author of Neptune Park (Omnidawn, 2013)
The Apartment of Tragic Appliances, named as a finalist for a 2013 Lambda Literary Award, is a literal place in which a hapless, portable dishwasher “heats residue only to reimagine cleanliness as an art project,” a recalcitrant microwave neglects to heat, and a refrigerator dies an inconvenient, bulky death. It is also that psychic space in which we consider our loneliness, our wandering hearts, our unpacked boxes, our vulgar desires.
In Queer Optimism: Lyric Personhood and Other Felicitous Persuasions (Minnesota, 2007), Michael Snediker worked “in the interests of felicity” to undermine the ways in which queer theory customarily privileges shame and melancholy. Here, in his first full-length collection of poetry, he undertakes a similar upending of expectation, acknowledging “gay sadness” but refusing to fall fully under its sway. The demi-tragedies of daily life are recounted by a voice that is variously wistful, giddy, bawdy, silly, and tart.
Along the way, Michael Snediker sets off an impressive pyrotechnic display of literary allusion, drawing on the superstars of the Western canon (think: Virgil, Racine, Proust, James, Wharton, Tennessee Williams) and of popular culture (Lucille Ball, John Travolta, Alex Trebek).
Buyer beware: In these pages you will not find advice on how to feng shui your duplex or tame a Cuisinart run amok. Instead, you will find something far rarer: a book of poetic sustenance. As Daniel Tiffany observes, “We have been missing poems like these for a long time.”
Imagine Roland Barthes & Wayne Koestenbaum & Proust & the Family Guy holding hands in a perfectly spiked smoothie. Oh, and throw in lots of Gloria Swanson on mescaline.
~Adam Fitzgerald, author of The Late Parade: Poems and editor of MAGGY Poetry Magazine
Michael D. Snediker is the author of Queer Optimism: Lyric Personhood and Other Felicitous Persuasions (Minnesota, 2007) and Contingent Figure: Aesthetic Duress from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (under contract, U. Minnesota Press). He is also the author of two poetry chapbooks, Nervous Pastoral (dove|tail books) and Bourdon (White Rabbit Press).