The lust-filled teenage heart that Slawson provokes out of the I of Panic Attack, U.S.A. has nothing on the mature articulations of contemporary anxiety these poems present in their hot bellies. As if peeling the band t-shirt off adolescence’s sweaty, nervous body, Slawson opens up the poem to a tragic humor that is so delicate I wonder if its skin has ever seen light: “what sucks about the soul / is not knowing if it ends / like a parade ends.” If poetry had a yearbook, and that poetry yearbook held a vote for “most popular” or “best hair” or twenty other meaningless awards, Panic Attack, U.S.A. wouldn’t win any of them; it’s too slight and quiet to ever be thought of for the ballot. It’s too smart to care.
—A. Minetta Gould
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