Through a collection of surreal love letters and rants, Megan Volpert’s Sonics in Warholia examines the enigma that was Andy Warhol. Through an exploration of the delicate sidestepping and visible isolation that was his life, Volpert begins to unravel her own life and the ghosts that haunt her in the way that Warhol himself has come to haunt her. In the final poem, after all, it is Warhol’s teeth working against the flesh of her hand; it is Warhol who devours her while she screams soundlessly.
It is always a treat to hear an author read his or her own works, and Volpert’s experience in performance poetry made this audiobook more than a simple recitation of the written word. It is easy to become lost in the fire of Volpert’s voice. Time and again, I found myself unaware of time passing as I listened and was absorbed in Warhol’s world, his life, and in doing so, was absorbed in Volpert’s life. The reading is at times dynamic, at times somber and reflective, but it is obvious throughout that the words are alive, shimmering with emotion.
Through Volpert’s exploration, I found myself defined through Warhol. Part a jumping child screaming “look at me, look at me,” part hermit who closets herself away, Volpert’s voice led me through Warhol’s life, and in listening to her words, I found myself as well.
With a sharpness and honesty that turns prose poetry inside out, Volpert delves into the ways we are haunted by the lives our idols; the ways in which we may lose ourselves in our writing, our art, or the mix tapes that comprise the soundtracks of our own existence.