Coping with Emotions and Otters Front Cover

Paperback / softback
ISBN: 9780889227644
Pages: 96
Pub. Date: April 15 2012
Dimensions: 9" x 6" x 0.5"
Rights: Available: WORLD
Poetry / POE011000

  • POETRY / Subjects & Themes / General
  • POETRY / Canadian

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Coping with Emotions and Otters

By Dina Del Bucchia

Taking as her guide the structure of the contemporary pop psychology how-to book, with its neatly numbered and ordered rules regarding how to change and improve our lives, and also flirting with a concept found in serial poems such as Jack Spicer’s “Psychoanalysis: An Elegy,” Dina Del Bucchia fashions incredibly witty and punchy guides for exploring our most awkward emotions.

The question becomes how to get a grip on these emotions and “self- actualize” in an age when the height of illusory autonomy is achieved by maximum contagion, by “going viral,” and through intensely obsessive identification with celebrities – spectacular representations of living human beings who, as Guy Debord suggests, “exist to act out various styles of living and viewing society unfettered, free to express themselves globally” through the act of dramatizing by-products of our labour, emphasizing power and vacations, decision and consumption.

With the advent of reality show worship, our sense of emotional control and superiority is inextricably linked with enjoying an emotional arena full of “real people” that combines explosive “blowouts” with grave mockeries of our electoral process. This phenomenon was evident in the case of the now-deceased Nyac, one of eight sea otters brought to the Vancouver Aquarium following the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill that devastated Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989. Nyac skyrocketed to celebrity status when millions watched a YouTube video posted in 2007 that caught her holding hands with Milo (another otter).

In poems about this exciting celebrity hookup, by turns touching and ironic, Del Bucchia takes on our “society of the spectacle,” prompting us to meditate upon the media viewing frustum through which we channel so many of our emotions and thereby construct our sense of reality, when otters are looking out for one another in a way we often don’t.

Short-listed 2014 ReLit Awards, Poetry

“a delightful and poignant satire of our narcissistic and celebrity-obsessed culture. Del Bucchia has a radar for the ridiculous: our propensity to deify celebrities (even if they’re otters), our love of navel-gazing, our desire for transformation in ten easy steps. … If this book was only funny though, it would become tiresome. It isn’t. There is beautiful and moving writing in these pages.”
PRISM International

“Dina Del Bucchia aims her sassy wit at ‘jealousy,’ ‘happiness,’ ‘guilt’ and other subjective experiences—if you’re unable to admit how these wily emotions truly manifest for you, Del Bucchia is more than willing. Her poems are like hot gossip from whip-smart grapevine that you simply can’t help but overhear.”
– Amber Dawn, author of Sub Rosa and How Poetry Saved My Life

“A poetic piss-take on the self-help genre.”
Malvern Books Reviews

Coping with Emotions and Otters is subversive, sly, and hilarious. In it, Dina Del Bucchia not only reveals the emotional landscapes of the beautiful-on-the-outside urbanites, but also treats us to wry and unexpectedly poignant step-by-step guides on how to properly achieve these feelings ourselves. Sharp and candid, Del Bucchia deftly holds a comic mirror to our own awkward lives in this exciting, accomplished debut.”
- Marita Dachsel, author of All Things Said & Done

“Dina Del Bucchia’s debut is funny, perversely beautiful, and satirical without being judgmental. Here, all emotions are to be revelled in, from happiness (‘soft lighting, WiFi connection, rat poison’) to shame (‘catch the glimpse of uncertainty / as you mispronounce countries’). Buy, read, and clutch to your chest this comforting poetic guide for painful times.”
– Jennica Harper, author of The Octopus and Other Poems and What It Feels Like For a Girl

“Del Bucchia’s parodic machinery works at full throttle… These pieces achieve a taut balance between satiric distance & sad self-laceration. … I’m not sure what, exactly, Del Bucchia wants to do, but I’m pretty sure she sympathizes. Coping with Emotions and Otters has pushed firmly if in a roundabout way to that final line.”
Eclectic Ruckus

"In any case, Coping with Emotions and Otters, as the title indicates, is unlike any book of poetry you’ve ever read. And while it sends up the self-help genre, you’ll still feel like a better person after reading it, although not for the reasons you think."
- Jacqueline Turner, Georgia Straight

By Dina Del Bucchia

Dina Del Bucchia is the author of the short-story collection Don’t Tell Me What to Do and of three collections of poetry: Coping with Emotions and OttersBlind Items, and Rom Com, the latter written with Daniel Zomparelli. She is an editor of Poetry Is Dead magazine, the artistic director of the Real Vancouver Writers’ Series, and a co-host of the podcast Can’t Lit with Jen Sookfong Lee.

Read more about Dina Del Bucchia