Collected in this volume are Chelsey Minnis’s first two books: Zirconia from 2001, and Bad Bad from 2007. Zirconia introduced a speaker described as “half-smirking, half-weeping” by the Village Voice. Minnis heralded the gurlesque, a term coined for the occasion and defined as “a feminine, feminist incorporating of the grotesque and cruel with the spangled and dreamy.” Bad Bad ushers Zirconia’s juvenile persona into unblushing womanhood. The poems are equally clownish and fuck-offish, taking on with equivocal weightlessness the lexicons and trimmings of fashion, as it applies to the Self and the garments that clothe the Self, and self-obliteration. Minnis addresses the inner needs of the poet: “the purpose of poetry is to seem as lifelike as possible so that you actually exist.” [publisher’s note]
Let’s add that Minnis favors an expressive and radical use of dot dot dots, and of lines of dots, creating breathless sentences on edge, rendered even more drastic by the expressive use of typographic signs, and specific fonts. Both Zirconia and Bad Bad are constructed with short chapters with evocative titles; Bad Bad starts with several pages of short, self-reflexive “Prefaces,” and comprises pictures resembling the covers of zines.
With a foreword by Ariana Reines.