Strike Anywhere

Essays, Reviews & Other Arsons

Michael Lista

The Porcupine's Quill (publisher)

"I’d like to think that I’m polarizing the way a battery is," explains Michael Lista in his introduction to Strike Anywhere, "energizing the flashlight by which you read in the dark only because it has a negative and a positive side. Collected here, under one cover, are my cathodes and my anodes."

In his self-described ‘arsons’, Lista assesses with equal fire our literary darlings (Anne Carson, Don McKay), talented veterans (Steven Heighton, David McGimpsey) and promising newcomers (Stevie Howell, Aisha Sasha John) of the poetic genre. He depicts a literary institution pathologically averse to the sustenance of a traditional repertoire and addicted to the empty calories of poetic experiments. Television, too, falls prey to his jaundiced eye, from the militant sincerity of The Bachelorette to the receptacle of American anxieties that is The Walking Dead. But beyond passing judgment on the contemporary Literary Industrial Complex, Strike Anywhere acknowledges the inherent contradiction of poetic expression—that its power lies in its uselessness—and recognizes that poets are, nonetheless, the happy few, the unacknowledged legislators of the world.

With thoughtfulness, wit and considerable humour, Michael Lista offers a refreshingly candid take on the moral and aesthetic implications of storytelling in all its forms, from boob-tube blockbusters to the latest volume of verse.

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