Funny things can happen by accident — flatulence, Freudian slips, falls on errant banana peels — but jokes happen on purpose. Like poetry or music, jokes are composed, usually to provide pleasure, often a profound, unconscious pleasure that we might otherwise forbid ourselves. As Freud wrote in his abidingly unfunny treatise on the subject, “A joke will allow us to exploit something ridiculous in our enemy which we could not, on account of obstacles in the way, bring forward openly or consciously; once again, then, the joke will evade restrictions and open sources of pleasure that have become inaccessible.”
Susan Holbrook writes poems that, like jokes, open such inaccessible sources of pleasure by evading our expectations of language, meaning, and poetry. To read my review of her new collection, “Joy Is So Exhausting,” visit Rover’s Book Section today!