Cruise Missile Liberals is Spencer Gordon’s debut trade collection of poetry.
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WARNING: Cruise Missile Liberals contains few “proper” poems. That is, poems with proper manners, proper etiquette, or proper service to our national narratives. Poems that reassure the powerful. Poems that lie inert—with the smell of the museums. Poems that are, in a word, nice.
Instead, Spencer Gordon’s debut smoulders with explosive contradiction—with a charismatic voice that rewires what we could ask for in a collection. Blending gaudy lyrical excess with blemish-ridden found material, it presents the reader with guiltily pleasurable collisions. It is of the wretched present: online, urban, urbane, and sweetly ironic. These are poems of play, rant, irreverence, and lip; of sparkling newness haunted by the opulent, hungry dead. Works brimming with cheek that, every so often, stiffen to a punch to the gut.
Like an updated Civil Elegies for a digital generation, Cruise Missile Liberals is a blistering debut from an author leaving his own bite-mark on “Canadian Literature.”
Spencer Gordon’s Cruise Missile Liberals is, as its title suggests, a very funny, often despairing book. Jammed with on-point pop and breathtaking turns of phrase, this collection of poems is genuinely compelling: it is hard to stop reading, so sweetly twisted is Gordon’s world.
— Lynn Crosbie, Author of Where Did You Sleep Last Night, Life Is About Losing Everything, and Liar
Hot, hot, hot! Spencer Gordon’s Cruise Missile Liberals is an exquisitely detailed and passionately directed collection which finds vibrant resolve at the intersection of nation and art. With considerable heart and thrilling precision, these poems gratefully adopt the argot (and trouble) of the times and they discover a much different Canada, sweet with chipmunks and as untamable as Sk8er Boi.
— David McGimpsey, Author of Asbestos Heights, Li’l Bastard (Nominated for the Governor General’s Award in Poetry), and Sitcom
There is a generosity of spirit on offer here for we who are tired, placeless, saturated in social media, and wasted on the bright horror of a future that never arrives. This collection is deft, intelligent, and tender, if tenderness is something that can also crush you—an intimacy that panics shut. For we who are “Nature Woke,” “alchemical kids with gold teeth,” “wanting to live as I do, shockingly new,” Gordon sings and memes against “Canada the Good” and presents us with an arresting portrait of our present moment.
— Liz Howard, Author of Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent (Winner of the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize)
Cruise Missile Liberals could easily be called Late Capitalism. Spencer Gordon voices the anger and dejection that many of us feel as we survey the detritus of our political and corporate ideologies and attempt to find an alternative to the cultural crack that has previously pacified us. But Gordon does not patronize us with false hope. “There is no system to replace the ruling system,” he writes in “Ticker Tape.” Elsewhere, he notifies us: “If you are crying, you are not winning. There is no good living.” As a solution: “You should burn down your life.” Like an excitable social media stream, these poems persist to the point of “sincere emotional fatigue” yet somehow Gordon manages to make an art of exhaustion, an art of the rant. Reading Gordon’s poetry and fiction, one feels caught in a Mobius strip where life and entertainment loop infinitely into each other. We are sometimes ourselves and sometimes we are Taylor Swift, Avril Lavigne, and Peppa Pig. Or they are us, our teetering elected representatives.
— Ian Williams, Author of Personals (Shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize), Not Anyone’s Anything, and You Know Who You Are
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