Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy by Tao Lin
I didn't want to like Tao Lin's "Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy," but he won me over. At first the poems seemed too casual or random, but I kept laughing at certain lines and didn't want to stop reading. He has a habit of using quotes around phrases in his poems like 'intense eyebrows' or 'you will never do enough for the people you love,' or 'i won the pulizer prize bitch' I didn't see why they were in quotes, but later, I thought some of the things he would put quotes around made funny lines even funnier. Half the poems didn't have titles, so it was hard for me to tell if each page was a new poem, or was continuing the previous page.
There is a ton of repetition in this book, but it is more like recurring characters instead of repeated lines. Half the poems are about Hamsters. Other recurring characters are Richard Yates, Bruce Lee, a specific obese person, a specific ugly fish. There is a series of poems of certain people/animals soliciting or not soliciting his poetry, there are so many of these characters headbutting each other. I thought it was funny that several of Lin's poems end with "I'll be right back."
The weird thing is, if I had to compare him to anyone, I would say his style is slightly like Aase Berg, one of my favorites.
I also have one of his other books "you are a little bit happier than i am" which I can't find, but when I find it, I will probably read it right away.
Here are some of my favorites from the book. I wish I could have found links to some of the poems about hamsters. Some of these links are from Tao Lin's own blog about the book, which includes the first 7 pages of the book, which I think is a great idea. I think giving people a taste of his poetry is a great way to get people to buy his books.
i know at all times that in four hours i will feel completely different
room night (second poem on the page)
eleven-page poem, page two
eleven-page poem, page four