The Death of the Poem

The Death of the Poem is one of the most entertaining, witty, surprising books I’ve read in years. It’s also, in the best possible way, very weird. Justin Courter’s is a world where a consumer consumes himself, arms and all; a poet dresses in blue bubble wrap and wears small boats on his feet; and an old man sits at his desk writing Russell Edson’s poems for him. ‘I got an idea for reality,’ Courter writes at one point. ‘I'll call it television. It’s a mirror with a box of brains in it.’ But these poems aren’t merely winkingly surreal, but are filled with anxiety, insight, and rage, pointing always toward very real human passions and difficulties.” 

— Kevin Prufer

“…it’s clear that Courter is extremely able, funny, and surprising. Plus, it’s evident he’d much rather stick out than fit in. But to stick out in poetry is, of course, the greatest challenge.”

— coldfront magazine


“The poems, fun and edgy, sarcastic and all too true, sometimes had me initially perplexed until the “aha” light came on, compelling me to read each one at least twice so I could laugh some more.”

— carp(e) libris reviews

“A consumer devours himself, a junk-food addict eats from garbage cans, a titmouse lives in a woman’s bra: there is a demented literal-mindedness to these funny, fast-paced prose poems that turns the world inside out and reveals every smidgen of its goofy, delicious splendor.” 

— David Kirby

 “Each poem is a lesson in imagination and unstuffing the often stuffy confines of this written form. Courter brings as much joy to the table as he does outright hilarity and confusion.”

— Sacramento News & Review