Clap For Me That's Not Me
Clap For Me That's Not Me
“What you’re reading is poetría plain and very simple,” declares Paola Capó-García’s Clap For Me That’s Not Me, a collection that revels in assured complication. Through montage and ever-startling switchbacks, Clap For Me That’s Not Me splices slapstick and dead seriousness, power poses and TV sex scenes, mystic contemplation and glitter shit, the self on a time-out and the self trotted out, and smack talk en inglés and shock and awe in Spanish, into one "lavish lengua,” “making something out of everything, the All,” making something totally its own. An unrelenting exercise in messiness and identity, Capó-García assures us, “It’s not that I don’t like this thing it’s just that this other thing is way more tricked out.”
Paola Capó-García is a poet, educator, and translator from San Juan, PR. She is the co-founder/editor of littletell, alongside Maria Flaccavento. She lives in San Diego with her partner and their puppy and teaches 12th grade English.
Paola Capó-García es poeta, educadora y traductora de San Juan, PR. Es la co-fundadora/editora de littletell, junto a Maria Flaccavento. Vive en San Diego con su pareja y su perro y es maestra de inglés de high school.
“I’ve been having desires lately,” writes Paola Capó-García, “and I don’t know what to do with them.” But desires permeate the site of these poems that grow bawdy, perverse, delicious inside the body and spill out into gorgeous, gasping lines that switch and kick like a dancer moving across the page. There is a quickness, lithe and pleasurable, that invigorates this astonishing debut.
Clap For Me That’s Not Me is an exploration of the “gaping pretty flushed holes” of meaning, as well as a meditation on the erotics/politics of technocapitalist embodiment, where the poet’s flow is always also “for consumption for dissemination for fandom.” Amid the lipsticks and throw pillows and LED lights, Capó-García finds an old-school blues rooted in equal parts indignation, mourning, longing, and a survivalist wit that asks us to channel our “land-based rage” in the name of cleansing decolonial desires. The modernist in me would call this perhaps the most dynamically challenging prose-poem-bursts by an English-language Puerto Rican poet since 1920s William Carlos Williams, or else inSteintaneous punktuation or the making of hemispher(ot)ic) Américans—except that Clap For Me demands its own hi-density coordinates: “Esto no es poesía” and “This fiction is HD.” There’s nothing PC or G-rated about PCG’s me-not-me textual unfolding; this self-unwriting has the carefully curated scattershot rigor of Bad Bunny’s Instagram if its hashtag swirls were written by Leslie Scalapino.
Clap For Me That’s Not Me choreographs the plot-twisting costume-changing ad-riddled complexities of contemporary identity in genre-blurring acts of literary brilliance. It is a purity-pulverizing and deeply satisfying story-ish arc of postcolonial poetics and feminine intellectual backtalk within a 21st century configuration of empire. This collection is gut-wrenching, yummy, hilarious, and tender but importantly, never quite soothing.