Have you ever just wanted to hit the reset button with language? Have you ever imagined what it’d be like to be an A.I. gaining consciousness after the eradication of all humans and cultures? Oh, not really? Okay, yeah, that’s fair. Anyway, you gotta be v chill to be down for this one. Perhaps, you could say you gotta be along for a ride to enjoy this. Here especially, Alice Notely is v much a poet’s poet writing poetry for poets. But this is no poetry collection—it’s more like a lyrical SCI-Fi novel in verse. Read this in conversation with Jos Charles’s feeld, Rebecca Watson’s Little Scratch, linguistics memes, Twitter, and grandparent’s talk-to-text messages if you want to get a more descriptivist appreciation of language.
Alice Notley has become one of the most highly regarded figures in American poetry, a master of the visionary mode acclaimed for genre-bending, book-length poems of great ambition and adventurousness. Her newest book, For the Ride, is another such work. The protagonist, “One,” is suddenly within the glyph, whose walls project scenes One can enter, and One does so. Other beings begin to materialize, and it seems like they (and One) are all survivors of a global disaster. They board a ship to flee to another dimension; they decide what they must save on this Ark are words, and they gather together as many as are deemed fit to save. They “sail” and meanwhile begin to change the language they are speaking, before disembarking at an abandoned future city.