Fireworks

Jules Boykoff lives in Portland, Oregon. He is winner of the annual CA Conrad Sexiest Poetry Award. This is his third full-length poetry collection. 

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Fireworks
by Jules Boykoff • 2018
ISBN-13: 978-0-9987438-7-5 • 94 pages; $18

Jules Boykoff is a serious man. Jules Boykoff is a critic of global capitalism, especially as manifest in the Olympic movement, about which he has written three important books. Jules Boykoff is a serious champion of whatever is anti-hegemonic, anti-hierarchical, and anti-patriarchal. Jules Boykoff is a serious family man. Jules Boykoff is also full of what he calls “felonious spunk,” in a poem called “Overdetermination Meets Polysemy in a Two-Fall-Ten-Minute-Time-Limit, Pay-Per-View Cage Match at the Convention Center in Portland, Oregon.” In other words, Jules Boykoff is a wordslinger, his third book of poems offering content strained through many forms (including collages and photographs), but always walking a tightrope between anger, angst, and puckish punsterism. Reminiscent to this reader of the mad tonal shifts of The Death of Stalin, this book shows us a different mode of resistance, one that with mordant wit seeks to destroy the humorless flat acreage of incipient (or actual) fascism.

 
Blurbs

“I have this joke I’ve been trying to tell you.” This refrain runs through Fireworks. The whole book is the “trying to tell.” And the joke? It’s us, the tragic absurdity of a species unable to stop self-destructing. The punchline lands with such tenderness, in language often achingly beautiful: “cardinals quivering on the concertina wire.” These are poems only Jules could write—acts of witness at once outraged and playful. By his sheer creative wit he recalls for us the possibility of “that little place inside—unpoliceably mine.”
–Allison  Cobb

In Fireworks, Jules Boykoff has done what too many contemporary poets don’t have the guts to do – stop writing! For a long while (poetic value capital stocks be damned!) until an authentic sense of agency lines up with the times. We don’t know why or how exactly how it went down, but Boykoff did indeed pick up the pen again (while in Barcelona, Brighton, London, Vancouver, Rio de Janeiro) and strove to weave bits of his lived home life to globalism’s storms as they rained down on the American Northwest. In this collection, one finds no catastrophism, no “revolutionary” pomp talk, and most certainly, no prideful quietism unto the social. The book is sensitively strident; each plod forward into the outer world feels like untrodden path-making. I’ll go so far to say that I read Fireworks as an entirely new form of under-political victory waiting in the wings.
–Rodrigo Toscano

“The ruffle of a scrub jay’s wings on landing” composed, the poem finds cadence flows and forms ever attentive to detail. Lending to the unruly and directly lived “we” across distance this work carries a robust kind of value. What is “unpoliceably” Jules Boykoff’s Fireworks is relevant and integral. Here a sort of groundswell tends to soil to raise fact and fist. The work moves, as the poet has moved, through charges of smoke and spectacle. “Beauty and meaning bricked in misprision,” the deterritorialized dream and nourish roots subject to amputation. Even when lost the phantom limbs lift and pick poetry blooms amid the festooned billows of perishable markets.
–Cecily Nicholson

 
Excerpt

Overdetermination Meets Polysemy in a Two-Fall-Ten-Minute-Time-Limit, Pay-Per-View Cage Match at the Convention Center in Portland, Oregon
or,
Sheep: A Love Story
*
This poem is about blood quantum.

This one’s about recollection.

This poem is about my reverence penchant.

This poem is about charlatans on tightropes.

This poem is about fighting capitalism one bumper sticker at a time.

This poem’s about foreclosure.

This one’s about vampires.

This poem is about poetic propaganda.

This one’s about propagandistic poetry.

This poem is about Randy’s last stand.


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