Zombie Stance of the Technological Idiot, The

18 January 2022

The Zombie Stance of the Technological Idiot
by s. mintz
Published by JackPine Press
Review by Elena Bentley
$20.00 ISBN 9781927035412

I imagine you’re reading this review on your phone. You were likely scrolling through Twitter or Facebook, then you clicked the link, and now you’re here. Most of us spend hours staring down these days, existing in a state of “‘psychic rigor mortis’”—sluggish and numb from the “‘effects of new media.’” “Wavering between shock and stupor,” s. mintz’s debut poetry chapbook, The Zombie Stance of the Technological Idiot, “is a lyrical probe on media in the contemporary moment given the inextricability of media from the contemporary.”

JackPine Press specializes in beautifully handmade chapbooks, and The Zombie Stance of the Technological Idiot is no exception. Accompanied by a bookmark that doubles as a pair of 3D glasses (the red and blue film kind), this chapbook invites participation with the interior images using a nostalgic piece of technology. A few poems also include web addresses, further compelling the reader to search the internet and participate in exactly the type of questions the chapbook considers: “how [do] we know what we know on the internet [and] [w]here does [that] authority come from?”

Right from the opening poem, “Mature Adults”—a glosa inspired by Canadian author and poet Len Gasparini—mintz explores the ways we’re “titillate[d]” with the internet, social media, and viral trends, or “the ever seeking thrill of thrill.” But despite what might appear in this and the subsequent poems as humorous allusions to addictive games, pimple-popping videos, Reddit memes, autocorrect, Alexa, pixels, and spyware, the poems deal with serious subject matter, like how social media creates “anxiety and alienation” instead of connection, or how we’re so “dislocated” from real life that we live vicariously through the influencers we follow. In “News of them,” mintz writes, “I watch the pictures / and piece together the life and love / of two people who met, who made it look like love. […] I pull up their lives and wait / […] for nothing, but to read the news of them[.]”

Like many of the poems in this collection, the final poem, “You Won’t Believe What Happens Next,” makes incredible use of rhythm. Right-justified on the page, the poem reads like a text message, almost as if the reader has written to an unknown “you.” Mintz reminds us, however, there is no I, “there is only you / and you and you” because in this “post-internet” period we must amputate the self, resulting in the “zombie stance.” The poem ends with ellipses—a witty finish to the book as mintz leaves us waiting for more (in the same way those three little dots flickering across our phone screens leave us desperately waiting for more).

The Zombie Stance of the Technological Idiot is anything but lifeless—it is absolutely alive with astute observations, clever word play, and intelligent humour. I don’t know what mintz has in store for us next, but whatever it is I’m already waiting online to buy anything this brilliant poet is selling.


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