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Poetry. In THE MARKET WONDERS, the Market itself becomes a thinking person: lover, parent, poet, philosopher. The first section reads as if the Dow Jones and the Dao De Jing had been playfully conflated; like the latter work, this is a "Book of Changes" and a work of philosophy. The speaker of these poems focuses tightly on the developing consciousness of her infant daughter, and then broadly on world events, in what they call "total awareness, incessant recording." While the timeline of the book's contents almost numbly identifies days by the closing numbers of that day's Dow, the mathematics at play are much wider than market measurements. They include theoretical physics-with the poet insisting the market penetrates all events-and brain physiology, as well as the purpose of poetry itself. Briante pushes the poetic domain beyond the lyric, beyond traditional subjects like nature (although the poet's consciousness omits nothing: cardinals in a tree, for instance), and into enumeration as meditation, money movement as an overarching shared consciousness. Briante turns the expectations of poetry upside down when she explains, "I wish more poets would write about money," and a fairytale narrated in footnotes suddenly has exact measurement thrust into it. By the end of the book, we see how financial theories, rightly or wrongly applied can distort the ordinary acts of living, impoverish entire communities. There is nothing, however, impoverished about THE MARKET WONDERS, a work rich with marvels drawn from our ordinary world.
"Across the bottom of our imported flat-screen televisions race the names of the winners and the losers: NFL and NBA scores, Dow Jones Industrial Averages, news on the most recent school shooting or celebrity overdose. Amidst this incessant flagellation of news that is incapable of staying news, Susan Briante has imagined a remarkable poetics for our post-Occupy lives. Intimate yet public, THE MARKET WONDERS creates nothing short of a new linguistic bridge between revelation and awe." Mark Nowak
"Poetry's conventions tend to assume that poetry does not need to bother itself with the economic machinations of something like the Dow. These conventions are wrong and Susan Briante's THE MARKET WONDERS proves it. This is poetry that is only the richer for how it weaves the economics that shape our daily lives into it. This is one of the most beautiful and moving books I have read in recent years." Juliana Spahr
"An intimate almanac of family life, Susan Briante's newest book also describes the collisions between an I and late capitalism. In this way, the market becomes a throat, a tree, a poet it becomes the inorganic force Briante brushes and glances in her poems: 'Always a story, no matter how avant-garde you live, ' a poet tells the speaker in a dream. THE MARKET WONDERS is a devastating meditation on value and love and economy, a book that asks its readers to pay careful heed of the markets' inescapable trespass into our interior lives. This book is not just stunning, it's also important, a clarion call." Carmen Gimenez Smith.