Bateau Press is pleased to announce the upcoming publication of MICHAEL CHANG’S chapbook Drakkar Noir. Drakkar Noir won the Bateau Press 2020/2021 BOOM Chapbook contest. These poems are funny, acerbic, sexy, insane, wide open, and, ultimately, welcoming. Drakkar Noir is a wild ride. We love it. We know you will too.
More love for Drakkar Noir:
Reading Michael Chang’s Drakkar Noir is a metaphor for walking through a healthy spray of the eponymous cologne: top notes of radical diction, middle notes of fearlessness, and a dry down of sex. This collection, “messy yet delightful,” the tone a splash of benevolence and derision, does not suffer fools—or the system—yet somehow, a knowing vulnerability shines through: “I understand how tenuous existence can be.” These poems raucously challenge everything hallowed about poetry and find a way to make something fresh and true out of our cruel detritus. —RANDALL MANN
Electric and delicious . . . through formal experimentation and erotic intellect, through the knowing and delicious performance of disaffection, through social critiques embedded in humor, wit entwined with sincerity and longing, and with an inexplicit loneliness inherent to the gift-curse of seeing through things, people and systems, Drakkar Noir enacts Lyn Hejinian’s assertion that “language is nothing but meanings, and meanings are nothing but a flow of contexts.” The confluence of those contexts, for Michael Chang, to some extent involves the cosmic and comic absurdity of 21st century America and its pop culture. This is a book of tensions. The dissonance between candor and smirk. The dissonance between desire and grotesque capitalism—grotesque Americanness—which denigrates and cheapens subjectivity. In the face of that, Chang’s poems celebrate taste, and the critique of others’ tastes, as a form of agency and refusal. These poems bite with pleasure, but also press on language and tone and form, in the process asserting singular irreverence and defiance, an appetite for being amused by existence. “My voice a melody,” Chang writes. That melody is the melody of an unapologetically discrete mind, one that rejects expectation in a time of so much predictable posturing. Michael Chang is a poet of radical selfhood. —BRIAN TIERNEY
Quick-footed, exceptionally sharp, and overspilling with hilarious (and deeply true!) nonstop jabs, Michael Chang’s Drakkar Noir attempts to outpace the racist and capitalist machine at every corner. If there is any question about how the rapidly developing forms of digital communication and cultural capital have transformed the way we talk about identity and politics, Chang has a concise Tweet written just for you—only it’s part of a zuihitsu, an elliptical poem, a multi-referential poem that leaves you dizzy and gobsmacked, a poem that leans into the hyperbolic and affective excess of our times. Make no mistake—the surface flippancy of Chang’s tone is merely an attempt to get you to pay closer attention. There is no passive commerce here. In expressing the stakes of this writing, they share, “Did I say ‘poem’? I meant life.” —MURIEL LEUNG
We contain multitudes, you know, lemon drops & melon balls, sweet & sadistic, turkey & ham,” writes Michael Chang in their adventurous and audacious Drakkar Noir. These poems are voracious in scope, horned up with pop culture, dizzy with desire and juxtaposition (“u taste like jerky & tears”). Rarely do I see a poet whose voice is so singularly their own, so inventive and mesmerizing, present in the contemporary moment while nodding to the future. Chang’s poems make the page a space of reckoning, a space for boldness and invention, a canvas not painted, but slashed and smashed against a wall. “A lot of ppl write pretty words but don’t say shit,” the poet mocks. These poems offer “no neat ending, no bow to tie it all together”; they say whatever the fuck they want. They “blow shit up.” —AARON SMITH
Bateau Press expects to be done sewing these amazing chapbooks on May 1, 2021. We use college student labor for all of our sewing and emotional needs. Students are paid for this work in love, coffee, bagels, and more love. Orders will ship out May 2, 2021.
preorder Drakkar Noir now until the end of March at a discount and get free shipping thrown in
A Lambda Literary fellow, MICHAEL CHANG (they/them) was awarded the Kundiman Scholarship at the Miami Writers Institute. A finalist in contests at the Iowa Review, BOMB, NightBlock, & many others, their poems have been nominated for Best of the Net & the Pushcart Prize.