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I Can Say Interpellation by Stephen Cain


I Can Say Interpellation by Stephen Cain


Weary of saccharine stories and tired themes when reading poetry for children? Angered at seeing your children indoctrinated into adhering to patriarchy, neoliberal capitalism, and general compliance with authority each time they open a book of verse? I Can Say Interpellation remedies these problems by reconfiguring some of the best-known children’s rhymes for political purpose. Taking French theorist Guy Debord’s idea of detournement (a deflection or divergence of existing visual images and mass media), and applying it to children’s poetry, experimental poet Stephen Cain redeploys the rhymes and images of well-known juvenile poems against their dominant messages. The result is a new poetic landscape where the Fox in Socks becomes Marx on a Box, where “Goodnight Moon” is a meditation on possible nuclear annihilation, and “The Owl and the Pussycat” features debates on the importance of pre-emptive military strikes to U.S. foreign policy. Humorous, yet politically insightful, I Can Say Interpellation is for very smart kids—and for adults who want to keep them that way.

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“Reflecting on the absurdity of our world in simple children’s rhymes and tales, this collection charmed me. Cain has the delightful way of spinning each tale to suit his purpose and the results are often as hilarious as they are uncomfortably recognizable.” —Broken Pencil

“Parody is the frame for what Stephen Cain is doing here, but the value of the satirical commentary in the poems is far deeper and far more resonant. This is a book for adults, particularly left-leaning adults with children to whom they have read the originals of these poems over and over and over again. Parody with a healthy dose of moral outrage. The illustrations by Clelia Scala work perfectly with the text, with collages that pair familiar images from fifties domestic scenes and Victorian illustration, with memento mori that highlight the theme of death and destruction in so many of the poems.” —4 Mothers Blog

Stephen Cain is the author of three poetry collections—American Standard/ Canada Dry (2005), Torontology (2001), and dyslexicon (1998)—and a collaborative series of micro-fictions, Double Helix (2006), written with Jay MillAr. He is also co-author, with Tim Conley, of The Encyclopedia of Fictional and Fantastic Languages (2006). He lives in Toronto where has been a literary editor at the Queen Street Quarterly and fiction editor at Insomniac Press.

May 2012 | Poetry
10×8 inches | 48 pages
Condition: New
ISBN 9781897388846

Additional information

Weight .15 kg
Dimensions 8 × .5 × 10 in