A power ballad was a hair metal band's voyage into the softer side of rock, compromising to the integrity of the genre, but genuine and trailblazing. So too is Caples' Power Ballads. His poems and prose pieces are bizarre and hilarious, in which Dylan and Bowie sit alongside the French surrealists, with the occasional turn into heartfelt romanticism.
Caples (Complications) fills his newest collection with musicality and pathos, anchoring his playful language with ardent longing. Just like great power ballads, these poems are maudlin yet still authentically moving…A love song to Oakland, to idols, and to love itself, Caples’s raucous, tender, and tuneful collection lives up to its title.
Garrett Caples’s Power Ballads offers rhythmic insight into the youthful heyday of Generation X. Interspersing references to hip-hop culture, modernist poets, and classic rock legends, Caples uses his experience as an artistic insider to show us the rise of a new musical genre. In both free verse and prose poetry, the author delivers profound insights with lyrical prowess, using slant rhymes and alliteration to capture what growing up in the first MTV generation was like.
Cherise Oakley, Rain Taxi
Whether or not you’re interested in notions of proficiency with regards to poetry (I’d say I’m not) you have to be impressed with the virtuosity that’s happening here. It’s an It’s a Small World style tour of poetic possibilities – a spirited gust through expansive genres and character tongues, through rhythms and story hours. Sincere and humorous, perky and gloomy, this book, like the pop songs it references, is a gesture of togetherness, and at the same time a singular solo.
Dia Felix, The Poetry Project
This is probably one of the funniest and most playful poetry collections to be published this year, but it is also filled to the brim with refreshingly direct and tender love poems and dedications…
Chris Carosi, Literary Hub
Garrett Caples is the author of Lovers of Today (Wave Books, 2021), Complications (2007), and The Garrett Caples Reader (1999), a collection of outtakes, The Rise & Fall of Johnny Volume (2020), and a bilingual selection, Noches Apátridas (Unstated Nights, 2019). He’s also written a book of essays, Retrievals (2014), and a pamphlet, Quintessence of the Minor (2010). He’s the editor of Philip Lamantia’s Preserving Fire: Selected Prose (2018), Samuel Greenberg’s Poems from the Greenberg MSS (2019), and Michael McClure’s Mule Kick Blues and Last Poems (2021), as well as the co-editor of The Collected Poems of Philip Lamantia (2013), Particulars of Place (2015) by Richard O. Moore, Incidents of Travel in Poetry: New and Selected Poems (2016) by Frank Lima, and Arcana: A Stephen Jonas Reader (2019). He is an editor at City Lights Books, where he curates the Spotlight Poetry Series. He has a PhD in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and lives in San Francisco.
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
ISBN# 9781940696362 (6x8.5 96pp, paperback)
ISBN# 9781940696379 (6x8.5 96pp, limited edition hardcover)