Elaine Equi’s newest collection, Click and Clone, is a clever, playful exploration of “the tone and timbre of American life as it has been colored by the new metaphors and images brought to us by our continuing technological revolution.” Equi’s poems are punchy and energetic yet intimate, and she displays a surprising breadth of form. From faux tarot readings to a sonnet comprised entirely of headlines written by consummate poets at the New York Post, Equi strives to overthrow the common and the fixed. In “Follow Me,” she declares, “I don’t stay / inside the line. / I don’t go / outside the line. / I am the line itself.”
Whether writing about clones or consumerism or Haruki Murakami, Equi shamelessly exhibits her wit with wordplay and poignant aphorisms. Yet there are times when Equi crosses the line between clever and banal, when it seems like she tries too hard to elicit a few laughs. For the most part, however, she remains as fresh and modern as the title of the collection itself.
Click and Clone is not for the timid or the steadfastly old-fashioned. As Equi puts it in “Side Effects May Include,” “Warning: these poems may cause / headaches, hives, hard-ons in women, / . . . Do not read these poems if you are pregnant / or nursing without consulting a doctor first.”
–Jarry Lee, Assistant Poetry Editor