THE BOOK: To a New Era
PUBLISHED IN: 2021
THE AUTHOR: Joanna Fuhrman
THE EDITOR: Caroline Hagood
THE PUBLISHER: Hanging Loose Press, an independent press founded in 1966
SUMMARY: The collection of poetry contains 3 sections: Foster Avenue, The Happiness Factory and I Have a Secret Crush on Everyone in the World.
The poems in Foster Avenue focus on living in Brooklyn, while the ones in The Happiness Factory touch on political and social issues. The poems in the last section circle around issues of gender and language and meaning-making.
All of the poems combine 21st century surrealism with a grounded sense of place, daily life and history.
THE BACK STORY: I started working on the poems in this collection around 2014 when I finished my last book The Year of Yellow Butterflies. Originally, I thought the poems in the collection would blend the feeling of a fable with the idea of a history lesson. At one point, the book was titled Fablesque or Neon Arboretum. When Trump was elected, I became depressed and unhappy with what felt like the overly light tone in the manuscript. I took out a lot of poems, and the collection became darker. That said, most people who have read the book have commented on the feeling of hope and love at the center. The poems are angry, but it’s not a nihilistic collection.
WHY THIS TITLE: The book contains two poems called “To a New Era.” There’s a furious poem written right after the election of Trump (in the second section) and another more meditative poem that starts the collection.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? The poems combine imagination and humor. There are also a lot of poems in forms: two pantoums, two sestinas, a half-crown of sonnets, a cento, prose poems. As a secular Jew, my approach to everything is grounded in the comic. I was an adjunct professor for a lot of the time I was working on the collection so the idea of precarity is a recurrent theme.
“These poems speak from, of, and ahead of our times. They are the sound of our era’s political unconscious – what Fuhrman calls the “Tootsie Pop Mermaid of History.” This work is trying to wake us up and stir us to action even as “Every year, our belief in the future is more defunded.” Fuhrman’s method is radically original. Rather than speaking above our commodified Pop Art present, she embraces it, turning its tools against itself – “My tweet/ is a bullet/ headed/ straight/ into the heart/ of Capitalism,/ who is wearing/ a frayed/ Cookie Monster/ costume.” This writing is resilient and exhilarating, showing swagger in the face of daunting odds. Read it for an infusion of satire, wit, and defiance as you grapple with our current version of everyday life.” — -Elaine Equi
“… a wonderful mix of realism and surrealism that perfectly captures the modern age….This book is a great entry into the funny, insightful and fresh poetry of Joanna Fuhrman.” – -Ashley Hendrix , Raintaxi, Fall 2021 (103 issue)
“… a wonderful mix of realism and surrealism that perfectly captures the modern age….This “Joanna Fuhrman’s To A New Era lights a path to an alternate future; eyes open, filled with humor and empathy. It seems no coincidence that this book was birthed during the Trump era when hate and polarization came back to light.” Liz Axelrod, The Brooklyn Rail, (April 2021.)entry into the funny, insightful and fresh poetry of Joanna Fuhrman.” — Ashley Hendrix , Raintaxi, Fall 2021 (103 issue)
AUTHOR PROFILE: Joanna Fuhrman is the author of six books of poetry, TO A NEW AGE (Hanging Loose Press 2021), THE YEAR OF YELLOW BUTTERFLIES (Hanging Loose Press 2015) PAGEANT (Alice James Books 2009), MORAINE (Hanging Loose Press 2006), UGH UGH OCEAN (Hanging Loose Press 2006) and FREUD IN BROOKLYN (Hanging Loose Press 2000). In 2011, Least Weasel published her chapbook THE EMOTIVE FUNCTION. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including New American Writing, The Believer, Volt, Fence, Lit, Quarterly West, Conduit, and American Letters and Commentary, and in anthologies published by Soft Skull Press, HarperCollins, New York University, and Carnegie Mellon University. Her poem “Stagflation” won a 2011 Pushcart Prize, Her essays on teaching poetry to young people appear regularly in Teachers & Writers Magazine.
Joanna has been teaching for more than 25 years. She currently teaches creative writing and coordinates the faculty and alumni readings at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the playwright Robert Kerr, and a part Maine coon cat named Victor.
Love Poem in a Failed State
when I am
just a typo
and the rain
is the thick
an unseen sun,
of your left eye
of a welcome
to flip the bird
to allow myself
to feel each
one of my fingers
WHERE TO BUY IT: Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/to-a-new-era/9781934909690
Barnes and Nobles: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-a-new-era-joanna-fuhrman/1139006091
PRICE: 18 dollars
CONTACT THE AUTHOR:
Twitter: @Joannafuhrman Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joanna.fuhrman.1