Winner of the 2016 Colorado Prize for Poetry
This is a remarkable first book - sprawling, generous, angry, delicate. Through borrowed language and staged dialogues, Exit Theater asks how individual experiences of violence combine with myth to create the collective present, where we peer out from the "gun cabinet..." Lala's book tears open the velvet cushioning.
In these lyrical meditations crisscrossing the fields of personal, national, and international histories, strewn with bodies, Lala confronts, without flinching, the terrible beauties born of fin de siècle pessimism and optimism.
Lala merges verse, academic text, and lyric essay with writing for the stage in an elegiac debut collection meant to be beheld and enacted. This provocative book is designed as an immersive experience...poetry only in that it announces itself as such: this is performance, myth creation, and rally cry. In his understated confrontations with forms of societal violence - militarism, climate change, economic collapse - Lala attends to the musicality of language, seductively contrasting the lush with the sparse. Throughout, visual disjunctions and negative space wield tremendous power. This is a dense and challenging yet rewarding read.
A marvel of genre-straining performances...a book that challenges and resists the vague accumulations of knowledge upon which regimes depend...a book that neither assumes nor denies your participation, but utterly exhausts it.
Images from a handmade book.
Slaying is the word. It is a deed in fashion.
That unremitting siphon, Grief
Say goodbye, microphone. Try, but do not speak.
You were there.