Distributed for Carnegie Mellon University Press
Bel Canto is a collection belonging to the post-confessional tradition, whose protean speaker, a fast-talking theorist brimming with hypotheses and maxims, seeks to dismantle various power hierarchies by a dramatic staging of interiority and sensuous rebirth of meaning and desire, in moving, complex, funny, and cutting poems that cannot be reduced to information and exchanged like currency. Suggesting that revolutionary change will be linguistic, or will not be at all, Bel Canto critiques the alienating forces of late capitalism and neoliberal technocracy by restoring primacy to lyric subjectivity, sensibility, paradox, and alterity through a kaleidoscopic array of registers, modes, and idioms ironic and sincere. "What human could stay so quiet?" asks the speaker of "Epistle": "One who is secretly on fire."
“Concerned with the intersection between love and death and the body, Konchan’s refined, musical poems regularly arrive at genuine revelation.”
Allison Benis White, author of The Wendys
“Virginia Konchan’s Bel Canto is a metaphysical picaresque, a mutinous epic, an elegant subversion of old school aesthetics, consumerism, marketing, banal notions of selfhood and soul, ‘the whole damn work of representation,’ all in a champagne glass-shattering vocal performance like nothing else I’ve read. The allusions spark and spiral with iconoclastic power: ‘…hope is the thing with feathers / that perches atop the combat vehicle.’ ‘Alexa, play Blessed Be Your Name.’ There is no collection more brilliantly suited to the times we’re living through. Bel Canto will rattle you like God rattles, like poetry rattles God.”
Diane Seuss, author of frank: sonnets