Secret Third Thing
Cordite, $20 pb, 52 pp
'Anything and everything, all of the time.’ This is the refrain to comedian Bo Burnham’s hilarious and subtly disturbing song ‘Welcome to the Internet’, which both precedes and succeeds endless lists of absurd metadata. The idea is that, naturally enough, we have entered an age that simply has no way to escape the internet. Everything is available to us instantly. And with that, since we no longer live within the binary of either being on or offline, life has become increasingly inextricable from what’s happening ‘over there’.
If indeed the internet rules our lives, it’s good to have poetry that engages with that maybe highly alarming fact instead of ignoring it. Dan Hogan’s début collection, Secret Third Thing, is a poetic embodiment of that maxed-out chaos. It is a book both deeply informed by internet culture and deeply disquieted by it.
As evidenced by the title, Secret Third Thing examines the implications of 2022’s most notorious Twitter meme (a demented-looking dog with a text overlay that reads ‘I’m neither joking nor serious but another secret third thing’). This proves to be a perfectly irreverent lens through which to examine class consciousness, language, and gender under late capitalism.