Nothing is off-limits in this ultimately American text. Smuggling Elephants through Airport Security attempts to position large academic ideas in shared public spaces, often discovering the absurdity and humor in making such connections. The poems herein take the dizzying influences affecting the post-postmodern American and make poetry of it all, skipping whimsically from the Pixies to Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” from the Confederate flag to unisex public toilets, from eggplant emojis to Vladimir Putin stealing Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl ring. While the volume gives the reader a specific sense of voice and character, it also allows for identification with the author’s collected observations, all the while providing a succinct feel for the twenty-first-century American zeitgeist.
“Brad Johnson’s wry, wise (and often weirdly funny) poems capture our American mayhem as it whizzes by, including his sweet poems about family, shaped by the magic realism of South Florida. A real find.”
—JOHN BALABAN, former judge for the National Book Award for Poetry
You're better off not sitting down and reading these all at once—but absorbing them slowly, like a tasty cup of coffee in the morning. . . . The award-winning poet covers a diverse range of territory, including many timely subjects such as political division and diversion, sexuality, marriage, parenting and religion.~Ray Walsh, Lansing State Journal
Brad Johnson’s wry, wise (and often weirdly funny) poems capture our American mayhem as it whizzes by, including his sweet poems about family, shaped by the magic realism of South Florida. A real find.~John Balaban, former judge for the National Book Award for Poetry
Brad Johnson’s narratives bristle with encounters as indelible as our own unsettled memories. Alert to loss and ambushed by beauty, he offers up the cultural moment “as if history’s a thing happening all at once.” A critic, a comic, and a seeker, Johnson celebrates and rues the way we live now.~Jody Bolz, editor emeritus of Poet Lore and author of Shadow Play and A Lesson in Narrative Time
Smuggling Elephants through Airport Security tells us that tricks can be played on the eyes and ears and heart in plain sight. Brad Johnson is a trickster, a comic acerbic with a heart that is pliable and always ready to break for humanity.~Fred D’Aguiar, author of Translations from Memory and Children of Paradise
The dramatis personae of Brad Johnson’s lively poems debate the hot-button issues of the day—from politics and religion and sex to consumerism and popular culture—and readers will find themselves actively joining the conversation. With his roots in Dylan and the Beats, Johnson writes a contemporary protest poem, shrewdly ironic toward the hypocrisies and sanctimonies of our digital, viral age. Funny and freewheelingly associative, these poems track the daily trials of suburban marriage and parenting, reporting like bulletins from the front.~Peter Schmitt, author of Country Airport, Hazard Duty, and Renewing the Vows