Bónus Poetry by Andri Snær Magnason
Foodies and existentialists alike will revel in Andri Snær Magnason’s Bónus Poetry. We might call it post-Dante, though Magnason’s allusion to the Italian poet trades cantos for bite-sized free verse poems that grapple with consumerism and the human condition. The collection could be described as a happening in itself, after the tradition of Alan Krapow, or as installation art. The reader is inevitably implicated in Magnason’s writing, interacting with poetry at the grocery store, moving through the very world that Magnason is examining: one where nature is waiting at the edges of town, where fairytales haunt the aisles of our supermarkets. Table Prayer II depicts how the interconnectivity of humanity is strangely mirrored by processes of globalisation. Miracle, Always, and You Are What You Eat III are also stand out pieces. This collection is a joyful foray into grim realities of late-stage capitalism: at once relatable and tender, as funny as it is urgent.
The book was first published in 1996 and, as the name suggests, was inspired by the well-known budget supermarket with the smiling pig logo, Bónus. The book offers a humorous take on the poet’s analysis of his surroundings and at the same time a social critique on our material society. He wanted to explore what it would mean to turn the ugly, grim surroundings of the shopping cluster Skeifan into poetry.
About the Author
Andri Snær Magnason has written children’s books, plays, non-fiction, and a dystopian sci-fi novel; he’s made a full length documentary and has even put his efforts into city planning and architecture. The list goes on, and so do the accolades.
I bought this book sight unseen from the Grapevine website, expecting cheeky grocery store humor. What I received was a collection of surprisingly thought-provoking, evocative verse that did succeed in eliciting frequent bouts of giggles.
First part was my fave. What an interesting concept. Pure joy to read
Yes, Andri Snær brings fresh air into any genre of literature. Have you checked out some of his other books?