The Apartment of Tragic Appliances 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.”