Punchlines (Poetry)

punchlines_cover_tuckerBuy directly from the Mansfield Press site

“A road trip down the internet highway parallels a real trip down interstate highways. Aaron Tucker is situated between text and hypertext, between surrealism and the quotidian in a text replete with visual markups, as he slides between digital and analogue in a pensive glissade. The languages of www and html signage get absorbed into his “journey of discovery,” mixed with genres like Tweets and emails and riddles. Tucker takes soundings while in motion in this inventive book.”

Rachel Blau DuPlessis
author of Drafts

“Remember “looking at a sunset and feeling”? Aaron Tucker blueprints an architectural emotion founded in small-town boredom. That small-town being the Internet or Aberdeen or the sunset. What kind of funny is it when a computer program is your therapist? Punchlines.”

Angela Rawlings
author of gibber

Aaron Tucker’s poetry arrives an “algorithmic maw” to the bodies of lovers spooned on a bed, to their sweet nothings and to their lungs pouring incessantly outwards. Tucker’s is a poetics where the algorithm is everything and everything is algorithmic: speech, the ocean floor, and our responses to poems. With fierce intelligence and humor, Tucker urges collaborations with hyperlinks as much as we do with lungs and with our speech, “inseparable from code.” Punchlines beautifully navigates this computer-user collaboration as tidal thrums between love, boredom, desire and disappointment in both memes and memories. Tucker sees only the erosion of forms; and poems as codes, used to exclude the text from being and beings betrayed by language. Punchlines wants us to ask what algorithms do when we work “through the splitting apart of we.” Nothing funny, just punch lines; and this is the poetics Tucker so sincerely innovates: a complex and desire-full confluence of body, love and the technology that rhythms us and our loses. It’s all a joke, really: on us, on them. On those who believe poetry can handle any of this alone. In Tucker’s Punchlines, we are something beyond lungs and hyperlinks, and find our lines forever now with Tucker’s, spilling-out all over.

Jordan Scott
author of blert


 Punchlines is a poetic exploration aimed at distorting the relationship between mass audience and individual performer by highlighting the hyper individual experiences and thought processes of understanding and telling jokes.

I am particularly interested in exploring the nature of the call and response – performing some of these works in Toronto I’ve tried to take on a very different reading persona than I’m used to and encourage more conversation between reader and audience (especially heckling). The titles of the poems then become especially important: they alternate between simple grade school joke-punchline structure and more probing therapist-style questions. Ideally the reader answers the question/title first then reads further to see the narrator’s response.

cover rob punchlinesAs such, this is poetry very specifically situated in the persona of a lyric “I”. The construction of these poems come from this very specific narrator that is battling depression and a creeping self awareness of mediocrity. As the poems progress I want the poems to become less structured and stable and more language based and absurd – right now they read rather prosaic but I plan to begin to fracture these into increasingly more and more strange and less and less sensical riddles. I have been reading the poetry of Stuart Ross and Margaret Christakos as examples of local writers but have also been drawing influences from the writings of Groucho Marx, Charlie Chaplin and Gertrude Stein among others.


Buy directly from the Mansfield Press site

You can also purchase a wonderful chapbook version of this project from above/ground press. It’s cheap! Buy 3!


Jan. 2014

excuse me, do you know mrs. pennyblossum

don’t I know you from somewhere?

what letter of the alphabet has lots of water?

June. 2013

when is a car not a car?

what did the Twitter say to the Facebook?

what do you get if you cross a monkey with some egg whites?

why was the camel unhappy?

how are you feeling?

what is the turk?

what month are we?

what is the name of the only moving castle?