Para-Social Butterfly Metatron Press
Dale’s poems are more visually compelling than lyrical per se. That said, their social media aesthetic is precisely the point. The book itself is Instagrammable: Dale creates found poems out of horrible pop songs, celebrity Instagram comments, large type, emojis, ads, and hashtags. Deliberate empty repetition and cute aesthetic form barely conceal a violent undercurrent, as a disturbing made-up stint on the Ellen DeGeneres show goes terribly wrong (“You’re a hot commodity”). Provocative and playful, the book is aware of its status as a consumer object, and cheekily confronts the reader with our own complicity in mass media commodification. Dale thus reflects on our willingness to live two-dimensionally through screens, while gesturing at the desperation, vacuity, and potential mental health ravages that comes of this.
What makes someone turn to the Ultra-Glam? Why is the Ultra-Glam so attractive? And if we love it, why does it feel so bad? Para-Social Butterfly is as catchy as a pop song (you might hate yourself for liking it). In it, Dale constructs an illusory experience of virtual interactions that increasingly reveal themselves to be desperate attempts at intimacy and human connection, but which ultimately result in disillusionment: “but it looked so fun in the photos?!”mRb