alissa quart

Being middle class used to often mean one primary breadwinner who could support a spouse and children while also buying a home and owning two cars. Now some people live the illusion of a middle class life (although usually two full-time working spouses) who may have a house and possibly two cars and probably a kid or two but who are living paycheck to paycheck with little savings and a lot of debt, much of it probably student loans. The middle class illusion really is all that separates the working poor (or working-and-almost-poor) from the ‘haves’. I wonder what will happen when–as pensions are stolen, debt increases, housing costs increase, healthcare skyrockets, and childcare increases–the illusion of a middle class even existing is shattered?
Of course, being a girl whose identity arose from her lack of brands, I had to make sure that everyone knew I was destroying all the logos in my wake. I carefully scissored the labels off my Levi’s and Guess jeans. I believed the shadowy tell-tale rectangles and triangles that remained were an aesthetic of renunciation that would speak for me.
—  Alissa Quart
Thinking about money used to be in the background, and now it’s foregrounded. But that older kind of life existed. It did! I saw it. I lived for many years during a time when people didn’t talk about money very much.
—  Alissa Quart, author of “Monetized,” a new book of poems.