The Secret Correspondence of Loon & Fiasco by Carlo Matos
Mayapple Press, 2014; 105 pp
Reviewed by Kristina Marie Darling


Carlo Matos's latest book, The Secret Correspondence of Loon & Fiasco, utilizes a wide range of literary forms, showing readers a stylistic dexterity that is rarely seen in contemporary poetry. The prose poems, epistles, HTML codes, and chat transcripts that comprise this innovative collection are unified by the work's persistent return to several compelling philosophical questions: What separates human from machine? In what ways do the natural world and the mechanical overlap and intersect? Does technology make us less human, or more so? As Matos teases out possible answers to these questions, he offers readers a graceful matching of style and content. The poems in this collection transition seamlessly between deeply personal prose reflections on "parents," "translations," and an ethereal "past," and forms derived from the most pragmatic of technologies. Matos's skillful pairing of traditional and found literary forms suggests the myriad ways that technology helps us see the boundaries of what can be considered human more clearly. For example, he writes: "When he went to shut the window, a pair of cold, wet hands clasped his wrists with shocking speed: 'Let me in---let me in!' The ghost of Heathcliff walks." Paired with HTML codes and auto-generated language, passages like this one create delightful and often striking contrasts, which allow Matos to depict his characters' joy, heartache, and confusion in sharper relief. This is a finely crafted collection, and Matos is a writer to watch.