Examines subjects as divergent as Alzheimers, Medusa, mumblecore, and mental illness in taut poems. An analysis of popular culture, as well as an exploration of the many social roles that women occupy as mother, daughter, lover, and the resulting struggle to maintain personhood—all in a late capitalist America.
With humor and outrage, Giménez Smith reflects upon capitalist, misogynist, media-obsessed cultural conditions and how this environment molded the 'I' in this collection ... One of the most satisfying moves in Cruel Futures is its refusal to become a simple narrative about the ways technology and media make people ignorant and isolated. On top of demonstrating the ways media fills us with trash, the collection shows media to be a way of organizing the mind ... Giménez Smith’s poems in Cruel Futures continue the work of truth telling that she established in her previous collections ... in looking unflinchingly at the broken remains of the public and the personal, she also assures us that there is something to be built from the rubble.
Although her poems achieve a certain velocity, she still manages to delve into volcanic meaning and bask in the mirror of self-reflection ... To truly relish her talent is to understand her intellect as one of those plasma balls that lights up with bolts of electricity when one’s hand touches it ... Because Giménez Smith experiments with a thicker set of references and inferential imagery than most, poems such as 'Of Property,' 'As Body,' and 'Ravers Having Babies' seem to outpace whatever triggered their origin, and she almost always arrives at pure lyric possession.
... an astonishingly present imagistic exploration of aging, familial bonds, and mothering in the context of late capitalism. Giménez Smith’s poems, sparkling with pop culture and gleaming with intelligence, unpretentiously welcome the reader into mortality, grief, and nurturing, while deftly highlighting how these human conditions are shaped by the race, gender, and class of those who experience them ... Some of the collection’s most affecting poems grapple with the tectonic plates of middle age ... Giménez Smith’s language is almost painfully intimate, giving the reader the feeling of hard-won, exhausted truth ... There’s synthesis in this collection, a clarity of vision that manages to coexist within the overwhelm of consumerism, television, and pop culture. This slim book is astonishing in scope and ambition, managing to depict society’s constant babbling chatter, while continually asserting the individual dignity of her speaker and those she loves, and leaving room for breathtaking moments of revelation.