Jake Bauer is the author of the chapbook Big Pool, Oh and co-author of the chapbook Idaho Falls. He lives in Traverse City, Michigan.
Inside Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995—the real Tracey Emin’s Tent—Emin appliquéd 100+ names to the inside walls, making a highly intimate space that blurs the line between art and reality. Jake Bauer’s collection of poems inhabits that same space, leaning into the surreal in order to mine questions of what it means to be a maker in this world. To make art. To make love. To make yourself. To have been made. Ranging from charismatic narratives to haunting portraits of imagined artists to collaged wafts of thought, these poems build their own universe where anything is possible. They invite you inside. It’s exciting. But remember, tents are flammable.
Restless and sharp, Jake Bauer’s Tracey Emin’s Tent surprises us with humor and poignancy. His poems examine the human being—often given specific names to hold onto—as well as the limitless, strange objects we surround ourselves with (cranberry yogurt, old playgrounds, strawberries served with cute chocolate hats, golden watches, tight suitcoats). There is a hopefulness in these poems to understand human interaction more fully. And when he says “believe / when we die there’s nothing / but a bit of elegant banter / to be had with the earth”—I find I’m happy to believe that. These are poems of the human earth, inhabited and eclectic.
—Bianca Stone, author of What Is Otherwise Infinite
Poems in Tracey Emin’s Tent are poems in conversation with art and artists. Artists of varied mediums, works of varied mediums. The conversations these poems are having with art and artists provoke varied questions big and small. In these poems there is an invitation to pay attention to how a cataloging of particular people, objects, feelings, gestures, attitudes, histories, memories, moments, meanings—can build expansive spaces in sometimes very small places. These poems point to art as a brink, an edge, a threshold for pivoting our understanding of identity.
—Emily Pettit, author of Blue Flame
Jake Bauer’s poems are smart, precise, and full of mystery. The world is everywhere you look.
—Alex Dimitrov, author of Love and Other Poems