Craig Dworkin on Okay, Okay

CRITICAL INQUIRY | Poetry in the Age of Consumer-Generated Content

That theme of public crying—a dramatization of the structures by which social media aggregates records of individual affect—comes into even sharper focus in Diana Hamilton’s Okay, Okay, which pays particular attention to the intersection of corporate employment and weeping. Crying constitutes the affective activity par excellence because it both indexes emotional states and is itself a precognitive physiological response—it is affective in both the strict and casual senses of the word. Involuntarily expressed, the liquid from lacrimal glands is also expressive. With its title suggesting either impatient dismissal or comforting sympathy, Okay, Okay pulls back the cubicle divider to reveal the inverted strictures and contradictory expectations of the affective economy.

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Brandon Brown on The Awful Truth

Entropy | Dream Lit

“Write In Your Sleep” stages “fuck that” in different styles, including the more formal “research” embedded in it. Its refusal to choose silence, even when the dreams are awful, stems from these two crucial wishes, to write and to feel better. These wishes recur in the book’s second half. “Fear and Trembling” is a demonstration of the results of Hamilton’s research in “Write In Your Sleep.” The two halves of the book relate to each other in an analogous way as the dream text relates to the dreamer’s consciousness about their dreams.

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wendy Trevino on Universe

UDP | From the Vaults

But therein lies the magic of Hamilton’s long poem “Universe”: it takes the “speck” seriously without ever losing sight of “the great enveloping cosmic dark” & it does this by way of a thought experiment that illustrates & clarifies what “consent” is / sets it in relation to various “rights.” 

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Ryo Yamaguchi on The Awful Truth

Michigan Quarterly Review | An Act of Love from the Dream to Hamilton: Diana Hamilton’s “The Awful Truth”

Exquisite, right? The dream has chosen you, and given you this act of love, which is itself. My god. So you see this isn’t a book of dreams, heavy with symbolism (sharp with structuralism), nor really a book about dreams, but of or about dreaming, as an action, a thing we do and then think about after, assess perhaps, for quality and purpose, for its puzzling irreducible (imperfectly analyzable) presence. And there is so much more: reading, dreams, analysis, and this search for, if I can use this term as neutrally as possible, well-being (both personal and public, both need and justice).

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When asked to nail down a definition for poetry, Hamilton suggested that “The easiest way to know if something is a poem is to find out if anyone has called it one. This is not sufficient, but it helps,” and in that sense, Diana Hamilton’s Dreams is not just a collection of poems in the form of a game, but is itself a poem: it’s a collection of stanzas, beginning at the bed, and linked by the neon lines the player draws by moving from audio-log to audio-log. [ . . . ] Crawford’s game approaches the truth of dreams not necessarily through the neon visuals, but through the navigation and connection and layering of sounds and stories that, half-recognized, slip away when we try to tie them down.

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Ryo Yamaguchi on Universe

New Pages | Review

Diana Hamilton’s Universe is one of the tightest projects I’ve ever read: a chapbook length poem on ethics, broken into two sections (one roughly on property/possession, the other on race) and comprised largely of analytical propositions angularly cut into strikingly short lines. “You and I exist in a civil condition” the speaker asserts. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? 

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The Rumpus | Review

Her poetry—almost all of which is in rendered in prose, almost all of which is one-dimensional in the best possible sense of that word—forces Okay, Okay’s reader to examine and reexamine what is surely one of the most primal, instinctive of mammalian acts.

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Marie Buck on the awful Truth & some shit advice

Harriet | Diana Hamilton, Hyperintimate Poetry, & the Machine for Fighting Anxiety

Diana Hamilton writes poems mostly about everything that is intimate [ . . . ] Hamilton’s work offers a sort of antidote to anxiety by 1) explicitly describing something that is often a public secret and 2) creating a utopian vision in which we all have plenty of people to whom to confess our dreams, our weird shits, our desires, our self-consciousnesses.

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Dale Enggass on The Awful Truth

Quarterly West 94 | The Dream of Writing

5. The Awful Truth is also the name of a 1937 screwball comedy staring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant as Lucy and Jerry Warriner, a couple who suspect each other of being unfaithful, (almost) get divorced, and then try to sabotage each other’s subsequent dalliances. [ . . . ] As one of Stanley Cavell’s remarriage plots, it fits right into the book’s obsessions with film, paranoia, deceptive relationships, and parody. Perhaps the film is even the repressed genesis of Hamilton’s eponymous book? And perhaps Hamilton is even undertaking her own experiment in film therapy by playing the role of Lucy Warriner? Lucy/Diana is a character layering roles on top of roles, styles on top of styles, all in the effort to disrupt (and thus, in some limited way, control) the dream of a life free from anxiety.

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Jordan Davis on Okay, Okay

Constant Critic | Review

The range of subjects of Hamilton’s rewritten search results suggests it is not just us: crying at work, crying at school, how to hide that you’ve been crying, crying in science, crying in the car, crying outside, crying in the kitchen, crying in the airport, crying in the shower, Craigslist missed connections in which “you were crying” appears, crying yourself to sleep, crying on the train, crying during sex, crying in the movies, practicing replying calmly. I don’t pretend to know whether catharsis has all the health benefits the ancient Greeks claimed for it, but I do know it’s possible to read Okay, Okay a dozen times and feel more each time.

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Madeline Vardell on GOD WAS RIGHT

The Arkansas International | Review

Curious and compelling associations are found here between Flaubert and baby goats; lists of the ways a woman might like to be kissed, and arguments circulate on the point(lessness) of poetry, etc. As one poem puts it, “the speaker’s saying ‘fuck you’ to her // academic readers in their own tongue.”


Luna Luna | Review

Readers of Hamilton’s work do not necessarily require a large appetite for the long form, they just need some literary cows and a decent philosophy on bad writing and Hamilton is more than willing to assist with the misguidances, misalignments.

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Vi Khi Nao on God Was Right