Megan Fernandes Warms Up D&Q With ‘Good Boys’ Launch

Unleashing the Poet in You

  • Megan Fernandes reads out a couple poems to the crowd during book launch. Courtesy Tamara Elali

  • Professor Joshua Neves recalls an anecdote about his time spent in China. Courtesy Tamara Elali

On Feb. 21, more than two dozen people crowded Mile End’s Drawn & Quarterly bookstore to celebrate two book releases: Joshua Neves’ Underglobalization: Beijing’s Media Urbanism and the Chimera of Legitimacy and Megan Fernandes’ Good Boys.

It was a night to hang out, drink wine, have fun, and, of course, laugh.

“I want you to know that this jumpsuit is being held by a safety pin right now, and there’s like a 50 per cent chance this is just going to go wrong,” said Fernandes to the crowd, preparing to read a few poems off her phone.

Described as “an extraordinarily funny person and one of the funniest people I know” by author of poetry collection Under Her and good friend Alexei Perry Cox, Fernandes instantly lit up the room. But in her new book, the New York writer flirts with more than just humour.

“I think it’s a critique of certain models of nation state,” said Fernandes. “I mean, it’s trying to understand, what is a nation? And why does it feel so violent to have to pledge yourself to one, and the ideas of one, and how the circulation of that idea happens?” she finished.

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Good Boys is a collection of poems centered around race, feminism, adulthood and identity.
The title—limited to Fernandes’ favourite vowel—is inspired by Christian Bok’s Eunoia and translates the author’s multifaceted message.

She says there’s something about the letter O that she loves, its ability to pierce norms while keeping its obscene and witty personality.

“What’s the last text message you sent to somebody you liked? And what was the punctuation you used? You cared about word choice, you cared about brevity, you cared about compression, you cared about tone. That’s all poetry.” — Megan Fernandes

“It kind of got all the sort of irony of trying to destabilize certain narratives about masculinity on the one hand, but also it had that beautiful sonic sort of jocular obscenity that I really liked,” said Fernandes, also an assistant professor of English at Lafayette College.

During the launch, Neves, director of the Global Emergent Media Lab at Concordia University, also had the chance to speak about his book.

He shared his experience in China and thoughts on its economic development, which he examines in Underglobalization, a book that “only took 10 years to write,” Neves joked.

Surrounded by familiar faces, Cox, Neves, and Fernandes dedicated the launch to poetry.

Like a tool navigating its own world, it’s an important form of expression because it touches many areas at the same time, Cox said.

“I’d say the thing that I love about poetry is that it shows its process in a lot of ways that a lot of other writing doesn’t,” said the Montreal-based writer and musician.

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“I think that is an extraordinarily useful thing in language. It’s extraordinarily useful in politics, and I think it has a lot of space to do a lot of good work because it has specificity without being fixed specifically.”

As for Fernandes, in many ways, she thinks there’s a mini poet in all of us. She says it lives in the language we use to communicate.

“What’s the last text message you sent to somebody you liked?” she asked. “And what was the punctuation you used? You cared about word choice, you cared about brevity, you cared about compression, you cared about tone. That’s all poetry.”

As she sets out to release her second poetry collection, you can expect Fernandes to focus on nothing but unleashing the poetry in you.

“I’m not out here for people to care, I’m out here for the nerds. I love language. I’m here for people who love language,” she finished.

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