Resume, by Chris Green

I love the 2014 book of poems by Chris Green, Résumé.  In truth, I would have settled for the table of contents alone. The titles are so rich in imagery and vision, so evocative and interesting, I’m a bit jealous.  Ok, I’m A LOT jealous.  The titles are mouthwatering and the poems live up to their promise.

Resume, book cover by Chris Green
Book cover, Resume, by Chris Green

And how many poets get away with six (6!) poems of the same title (“Jobless”) in the same collection?

Apart from the sheer authenticity of life which the poems of Résumé represent, Green also presents the subtext of a résumé as the metadata for one’s life.  Green implicitly questions the truth we are willing to tell on life’s résumé.

I do enough hiring in a corporate setting to assert that the modern résumé has become a work of art.  In a digital world, every résumé is now individualized for the specific job to which one has applied.  It’s all quite slick and pre-packaged.  It makes sense, right?  Your résumé should show the experience you’ve acquired which also applies to the role you’re trying to get.

Fair enough. Maybe.

Unfortunately, the selective presentation of specific  aspects of oneself and one’s experience too often result in a skewed view of the real person.  It’s too neat and clean,  the candidate seems too perfect.

Imagine if you had to take all your formative experiences and put them on your résumé, no matter to which job you might have applied.  Not just experiences that look like a logical progression of skill from Point A to Point B, but the real experiences that taught you something otherwise unavailable to you.  Those which caused you to take a different path in life, or those that formed you despite your wish to avoid the experience.  You’d have to admit to the value of experiences which you’d rather not have had at all, and sidestep experiences that turned out to have been of little value to you personally, though they might be impressive to others.

Put this situation into practice, and the result is Green’s Résumé.  Really lovely.  Honest, open and unwilling to spin a life’s learning and experience into one simple narrative.  If only my own résumé read so authentically.