Cruise Control

With Cruise Control, Stephen Bett releases his first book of poems since Lucy Kent and other poems was published in 1983. An ironic, satiric wit colours the poems with a wry commentary on politics, modern life, yuppies, new agers, BMWs, and literature. Literature, like language, is self-referential. Stephen Bett's poetry, in Cruise Control, reflects the tension in modern poetry between commitment to an idea and commitment to language. These poems extend some of the ideas expressed in his earlier book, again using Lucy Kent as an observer of modernity, with ideas expressed in post-modern literary movements, and the Abstract-Expressionist period of New York painting. The artwork of the fifties and sixties, like the poetry, referred to itself rather than to the world. Firmly rooted in language and literature, yet with a Swiftian gaze outward at an absurd world, the poems in Cruise Control remain on automatic pilot.

Ordering Cruise Control

  • ISBN 1-896860-09-5, Ekstasis Editions 1996, 80 Pages

What Others Are Saying

Cruise Control is as lively, irreverent, intelligent, bold, and original as your Lucy Kent poems. I do want you to know how much I respect your work.

--C.W. (Bill) Truesdale

"[Here's a] kineticism of line, neon trajectories of thought like tracer bullets.... Take a plunge into energy where the synaptic juncture has snapped leaving raw the wires of poetry."

--Zygote Magazine

"I love [this] book...with its ever-deft line, its plangent smartness....obvious and extraordinary work....It is the real thing, alright."

--Forrest Gander

Bett is "noted for his experimental language poems and his quirky takes on 'postmodern' life.... He happily gores contemporary jargon and pretension...[in] those jazzy riffs on contemporary life that I have been citing with considerable pleasure."

--Journal of Canadian Poetry

"Cruise Control embraces the best aspects of contemporary poetry: it revels in the English language, in the line, the stanza, the poetic form. This collection achieves a particularly fine balance between the comic and the serious, a testimony to a poet with heart. I look forward to many more fine books from Stephen Bett."

--Canadian Poetry Association