On the roofs of windowless malls and advertising conglomerates, Kent MacCarter is dancing. Shimmy, bebop, pogo, he's climbing billboards to wall-flip up high over the parking lot, its asphalt vistas, naturalising heaps of disposable packaging, target markets heading to their cars under the power grid. He's making a maelstrom up there, sucking it all in-real maraschinos, Donkey Kong, nuclear reactors, fibromyalgia, quietude, cup-a-soups. It's 'draping sparkle on the troposphere'. It's giving the republic of letters its republic back. '& it's a total fucking gas'.
Kent MacCarter is writing like no other poet. His post SF Renaissance and post-language new lyricism are all tussling with an Australian sense of edges. Transcultural and non-national, these poems rip through assumptions and leave us flabbergasted. A generative tension drives word deployment, with words making meaning, developing that 'genuine strangeness' that shifts poetic discourse into something differentiated, generative, essential. In MacCarter's work, the 'ordinary' becomes strange and a lens through which we might re-see our certainties. There's an accentual and cultural slippage grappling with the 'new' in interrogative ways that are beyond satirical-the poet inside and outside what is being critiqued, culpable and also stunned by what is seen. Inside, because he is a participant in the cultural debates and discussions of the modern, and outside because his language is so self-propelling that the poet follows in its wake, watching on. These critiques of commercial fetishisation and gender stereotyping/exploitation are politically and ethically driven challenges to us all, requiring us to question our own modes of reading. This is a riveting work-compulsive, committed and drop-jawed wondrous. John Kinsella