High Maintenance

Stephen Bett's poetry is a self-referential funhouse that reflects the modern tension between a commitment to ideas and life in a pop-culture world. In High Maintenance an ironic wit colours poems about everything from hockey and literature to snowboarding with a porn star. It is a report on the state of a world where products replace thought and convenience is the highest of moral principles.

Ordering High Maintenance

What Others Are Saying

Stephen Bett [in High-Maintenance] cultivates a rebel's persona. His fractious and satiric idiom... calls for free forms. Syntax accelerates, and euphemisms and paragrammatic substitutions [find] likely targets.... The poems work because [Bett's] 'poetics' cues the blend of pop-culture and politics in the subject matter. Bett follows the cues... and his riffs work as comedy.

--Chris Jennings, Canadian Literature

Stephen Bett's latest [poetry] takes a straight-edge to the oddities of contemporary life, both reveling in and tearing to bits the inanity of the everyday.... a scathing and hilarious romp through the frivolous horrors of actually paying attention to what's going on around us.

--Jason Dewinetz

"Wonderful poems, truly. Lively, engaging, smart...risk-taking and groundbreaking."

--Michael Holmes

"[A] healthy mix of Kootenay school media saturated cynicism with an Olsonian sense of folksy grandeur."

--Tim Davis

Its mouthy pizazz & fearless taking on of whatever the pop & political culture throws at us

--Don McKay

A wonderful sense of the energetic possibilities of language and a keen sense that it can be used for social change, in a very direct way, through poetry

--Brenda Hillman

"Anyone who had read his [previous books] knows that Stephen Bett is an on-target satirist....He is outraged by the inanities of modern culture and doesn't apologize for his skewering of them....[His] caustic wit is in top form in this collection."

--The Rain Review of Books