Robot Poetry. I am reviewing I-Robot, a mini-anthology of poems about Robots. Each page with similes, metaphors and allegories dedicated to sentient beings. It’s one of the strangest genres I have read so far. There’s no way I can avoid the temptation of reviewing this. Good or bad, it’s such an original concept it demands attention, even a fan base. Luckily, poet Jason Christie brings a light sting of satirical wit with each page, while bringing interesting ideas behind the concept of sentient beings.
With a concept like this, there are two possible ways to approach this idea. One way would be to use robots as commentary on modern society. Another way is through parody. With the image of a robot dancing on the front, it seems to go for the latter. Not to say that Christie doesn’t apply commentary, he just does it through humour.
Well, Christie’s style of writing is not a classical style of poem. Some of his poems tell stories in a few sentences, from the exciting robot sniper on assignment to a somber tale of an old robot on its last legs. Some of them take the form of conversation including Robot Literature Class, where a Principal debates with a Lit Bot on the how appropriate some Robot-Supremacy material is for students.
Most of them take the form of monologues. This is Christie’s at his wittiest. He brings a variety of perspectives into the mix, whether they are robot workers or a human owner. He puts robots in a variety of roles, both professional and social. They are portrayed as Guidance Counselors, Black Panther-like militants, actors, and even married couples. And Christie writes a lot of funny lines. There’s twisted versions of the lullaby; “Go to Sleep little robot and dream rotten dreams of rotten flesh that will never, ever be yours” and the birthday song “Happy Activation Day to You!”
There’s a robot guidance counselor’s conversation with a little robot; “You just aren’t built to be a ballerina bot.” The funniest ones are the ones of owners complaining about their appliances:
“My answering machine told me it envied my ability to smoke”
“My robot fell in love with our neighbour’s garborator”
Christie’s poems run as long as two pages and as short as a single sentence. Heck, in the poem Dr. Who? There are no lines at all. I assume the blank poem is answering the title’s question. It’s actually pretty clever. The single sentence poems are absurd mantras: “Note to young robot: Be careful which socket you stick your plug into, or which plug you stick into your socket.”
I-Robot Poetry is only one hundred pages and considering the poems are pretty short, you could finish it in an hour and a half. And with Christie’s fast paced writing style, absurd and hilarious lines and intriguing ideals, it is a joy to read. Why not give it a chance? It can be read in a breeze. Come on, its robot poetry, people. ROBOT POETRY!