Hold Me Tight
Author: Jason Scheniderman
Publisher: Red Hen Press (2020)
In five poetic sequences, Jason Schneiderman’s Hold Me Tight considers life in a new age of anxiety as technology and violence inform new forms of selfhood and apocalypse seems always around the corner. Starting with a long poem about his own struggle to find peace, the collection is searingly grounded in the personal, anchored to Schneiderman’s own life. The collection moves to a sequence of parables about wolves, which obliquely consider intractable political conflicts and the emotional fallout of relationships that are structured around predators and prey. The next sequences focus on technology and art, looking at how technologies extend the possibilities of the human body, which alters what it means to be human. A long set of poems about Chris Burden explore the artist’s movement from the personal, self-inflicted violence of his early work to the larger questions of political violence that inform his later work. In the final sequence, Schneiderman imagines a series of “last things”—in which finality gives meaning to the people and things in question. In the end, Schneiderman’s project invokes a kind of old fashioned humanism, embracing the ruptures in our contemporary ways of living and thinking.