Wastoid by Mathias Svalina
In Wastoid’s dystopian landscape of desire, lovers love trampolines, lamp-makers, the sound of cars driving in the rain, anonymous tips that send innocent men to the electric chair, toil, silence, etc. Tender & nonsensical, foolish & profound, Svalina explores love’s endless variety & illogical boundaries. Merging renaissance sonnet traditions with the serial explorations of Cortazar & Calvino, Wastoid speaks of love & pain & ecstatic failure, searching for some new way to never be able to learn anything new.
“Wastoid, his latest collection from Big Lucks Books, has crawled inside the desiccated body of the Sonnet and formed an impenetrable shell from its remains. Like The Dream Songs, Svalina absorbs the personal into a visionary metamorphosis of the real.” —HTMLGiant
“Do yourself a favor–stop dating, leave your lover, get divorced, then buy a copy of this book.” – Eric Paul
“Overall, my favorite poem in this book is ‘Wastoid.’” —Probably Crying Review
Listed on “14 Poets for 2014: The Year’s Best Books of Poetry” at The Philadelphia Review of Books.
Praise for Wastoid:
“A lover is obsessively identified and misidentified in Mathias Svalina’s breathlessly intense Wastoid. This lover is a praying mantis, morphs to predatory bird; this lover is a sadist, a romantic, an abstraction of winter, a mirror and tomb; this lover is dead, then mutates to other lovers. These prose poems move at ecstatic speed, compulsively rebuilding fantastical miniature worlds where a lover—Lazarus-like—dies and rises again, often leaving destruction in his wake. The more this love is defined, the more it feels unreachable and ineffable. These unforgettable poems are full of feverish imagination as well as gorgeous blood currents of anger and mourning that drive Wastoid deep into our consciousness.”
— Cathy Park Hong, author of Empire Empire and Dance Dance Revolution
“Mathias Svalina’s book is full of honey. It is full of sad honey, honey and swagger, a honeyed hope. The I in this book is sweet and the rest of the world is a Wastoid and I is left writing poem after poem obsessively trying to understand the disconnect between himself and the lover who is a Wastoid, too. Maybe the I can never understand the world. But the poems do—these tight little songs announcing themselves one after the other, bowling over the reader more and more as the book goes on. And after I read this book, I understood why it is ok to die.”
— Dorothea Lasky, author of Rome and Thunderbird