Category Archives: Joseph, Allison

Allison Joseph: Alternative Facts

This is not a good poem. Everything here is low-hanging fruit that offers no insight into an alternative fact. No rigorous thought went into this. And we all know this is a response to the new President and we are all concerned about where an administration that deals in outright lies will take us. Yet nothing in this poem explores these anxieties, it’s just flippant, as if the subject matter is not important. Which begs the question: why did the author even bother writing this?

Probably to be the first to the punch with a poem with this title.

The first stanza shouldn’t even be a stanza, the line breaks do not stand on their own and add nothing to making this more poetic, it’s just masquerading as a poem. And I’m not going to buy that this poem’s lack of poetica is a postmodern critique of alternative poetry – it’s just lazily written.

In the second stanza we get arbitrary examples: losing=winning, infidelity=dating, and raccoons=pets?! This is literally the definition of arbitrary. This is followed by a pointless line break as if we were going to be surprised about what the author was going to tell us about racoons.

We weren’t.

And a delinquent bill can’t be paid even with alternative money, it’s delinquent because it wasn’t even paid with an excuse. The line makes no sense.

Next we get the first of 3 overt health food / junk food examples: cake=celery, dounut=apple, and Doritos=carrots. All three of these do the exact same thing and even do it in the same order= junk food > health food. So not only do we have arbitrary list making faking itself as poetry, the author can’t even come up with different ideas.

The only good line here is in the final stanza where we learn something about the author and how she stuffed her bra, but then this is suddenly dropped and is not explored at all, it’s just a random fact in this endless list of unthoughtful ideas. Also, we don’t need to call a teenager who is flat-chested “young”, we already can assume that. Even if they were a flat-chested 18 year old, age wouldn’t matter in the context of this lazy disaster.

As an alternative poem it works as nothing more than a total waste of my real time.

I despised this “poem”, but since the poem made me so mad I took the time and rewrote it (and I probably sunk more time into this than the original author did in theirs ).

I took the best idea in the poem and ran with it while keeping in the theme of alternative facts, in this case a family that will not tell the truth to each other and the consequences of those lies.