This is veteran spoken-word performer Spencer Butt’s first trade print collection, documenting several pivotal years in the poet/protagonist’s life. One thing that spoken word is notorious for is being relentlessly transparent about late-youth crisis material, and Butt covers the territory unabashedly: wondering how long one can cling to the friendships and trappings of prolonged adolescence while seeing relationships mature and the body wear down, sailing on the wind of a damaged, dubious optimism.
What a breath of fresh air to find wit and joy working as wholehearted partners when they are too often posed as adversaries in our day-to-day culture. Instead, here, language is rigorously (and almost completely) cleared of pretense: spoken plainly, but sort of in the way that moonlight is sunlight: of course it actually is, and of course it actually isn’t. For instance, “In the Kitchen:”