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Operating Systems

Operating Systems


This expansive, ambitious collection by Joe Pan further exemplifies his talent for blending genres and pushing formally experimental narratives and lyrics into a wild array of thought-provoking poetry. From the familial to the fantastical to the socially political, Pan's maximalist style doesn't miss much, earning this collection its place among the most anticipated books of 2019. Highlighted by "Ode to the MQ-9 Reaper," a long poem about drone warfare already taught in classrooms around the country. Operating Systems approaches our complicated and shifting histories with empathy and an eye for the absurd.

"Frenetic, rhythmic, sonically rich--Operating Systems is an "effort in self-documentation/self-reconstruction," but more broadly, these poignant poems characterize the self in relation to its many communities, both imagined and real. Steeped in mythology, music, film, poetry, medicine, homelessness, social media, family, drones--chronicling the inner workings of the systems that rule our lives--Joe Pan's poetry approaches these concerns with a mixture of compassion, glee, terror, and fascination. These poems thump their way through time and genre while slantingly interrogating the innovative ways empire undoes itself."
-Daniel Borzutzky, National Book Award Winner