Two Poets Satirize the Age of TV

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Yankee Broadcast Network, a book of poetry about television culture, launches today from Brooklyn Arts Press, an independent publishing house on the cutting edge of poetry, art, fiction, and theater.

The well of American entertainment, for more than half a century, has been television. Even in the Internet age, nothing defines us, brings us together, or divides us quite as much as our experience with TV.

Yankee Broadcast Network, by John F. Buckley and Martin Ott, is a raucous follow-up to their highly praised debut of collaborative poetry, Poets’ Guide to America. “Everything is fair game with this duo, whose work combines humor, irreverence, and speculative flights of fancy to examine a culture enamored with the documentation of its identity,” says Joe Pan, publisher of Brooklyn Arts Press.

So how does a book of poetry about TV work? “Marshall McLuhan meets Barney Fife in this remarkable collection of sociocultural meditations disguised as mere poems,” explains Campbell McGrath, whose poetry book American Noise helped usher in an age of poets intent on exploring American culture and pop influences.     

Popular poetry books such as Alien vs. Predator by Michael Robbins and Letters to Wendy’s by Joe Wenderoth wrestle with our cultural identity while helping to bring the medium of poetry into our everyday lives. “This is entertaining poetry that deserves an audience as large as, though possibly less monstrous than, The Real Housewives of Wayne County,” says McGrath, referring to one of the many poems in Yankee Broadcast Network.

Other examples of poems from the book that offer a satiric slant on recognizable television shows include “The B-Team,” “Nightmares of a Late-Night Talk Show Host,” and “Burn’ded,” which is the tale of a reality TV show that erupts into real violence. Other poems from Yankee Broadcast Network spans time and space to include the TV experiences of prehistoric people, Greek gods, Santa, mermaids, aliens, and the president of a post-apocalyptic America.

“Televised narratives shape and warp our perceptions of reality. But television also shapes and warps imagination. Yankee Broadcast Network is vivid proof. Quirky and kinetic language leaps off the pages. Brilliant riffs on reality television, game shows, and comedies amuse, jolt…I laughed, I marveled,” says Yale Younger Poets prize winner Eduardo C. Corral.

The power of Yankee Broadcast Network is that it simultaneously entertains while investigating our TV passions, addiction, and predilections. For people who occasionally feel guilty about not reading enough because of television, this is a great opportunity to get the best of both worlds. "Surely, there’s never been a better book of poetry about television," says Campbell McGrath, author of In the Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys.

Available at Brooklyn Arts Press in both print and ebook editions.

About the Authors
Martin Ott lives in Los Angeles, where he writes often about his misunderstood city. He is the author of three books of poetry and a novel, The Interrogator’s Notebook (Story Merchant Books). His website is http://www.martinottwriter.com.

A recent graduate of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan, John F. Buckley has been writing poetry since an attempt at writing a self-help book went somewhat awry. After a twenty-year stint on and near the West Coast, he now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife. His website is http://www.johnfrancisbuckley.wordpress.com.

For more information about Yankee Broadcast Network, please contact Joe Pan directly at info(at)brooklynartspress(dot)com.

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Joe Pan
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since: 06/2009
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