Praise for Human Resources"Ryann Stevenson's debut collection Human Resources captures the eerie, 'Black Mirror' feeling that we've already crossed some A.I. event horizon . . . Stevenson has a deadpan human to counteract the surreality: 'Last night was a first: I screamed out loud / when trying to scream in a dream.' . . . We get the dialogue backward, as in Martin Amis's novel 'Time's Arrow, ' in which a Nazi lives his life again from death to birth. Both a nightmare and a fantasy, this undoing. 'I want to go back and change my answer, ' Stevenson writes–too late for that! Or, to paraphrase Kafka: Plenty of hope, but not for us."–Elisa Gabbert, New York Times"In Human Resources, the speaker is often isolated, even as she's building technology that's supposed to help connect people. Much of this isolation, the poet conveys, came from [Stevenson] being a woman in a male-dominated industry . . . By thinking about connecting with an unknown being on the other side of a screen or speaker, Stevenson addresses a kind of detachment that is a result of modern technology. And yet, by thinking of the woman's role in a male-dominated space, she joins a sisterhood of poets who bravely capture the feeling of female isolation."–NPR's Morning Edition"Here is the past without robot screens, and here is the future that we cannot but try to anticipate through them. It is memorable then, while anticipating, that the person who designs AI throughout Human Resources does not always look at her own screens but, more often, through other windows, with the 'neighbor's TV / flashing silently, / as if he were still awake.'"–Ploughshares"Stevenson's darkly comic and unsettling poems reveal the sexism and isolation of Big Tech. But Human Resources explores how our humanity asserts itself - even as we attempt to mimic it in a more perfect replica."–NPR, "Books We Love"
"The lyric explorations in Stevenson's beautifully discriminating book–of self and soul, femininity and society, the peculiarities and intricacies of 'design' within nature and culture–are stunned, fine-minded testimonies. In a time of cold virtual ecosystems and lightweight psychological theories and remedies, Human Resources speaks for mystery and vulnerability."–Sandra Lim"The controlled anxiety of the present is captured brilliantly by this wary, lucid book. We live in an era when our humanness is worn down–by virtual beings, bots, synced devices, battery life, data, radiation, sulfates, and lead–so we must practice mindfulness to keep from losing track of who we are. This brave, tough book suggests that flowering maples, yoga, orcas, and the hands of our mothers might help us preserve our innocence. Human Resources is a lyric transcript of what it is to be a citizen at a punishing time."–Henri Cole