Mature Themes

Andrew Durbin. Nightboat (UPNE, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-1-937658-23-6
Fantastically aberrant, Durbin’s debut collection of hybridized essay, fiction, and poetry establishes the young writer as a legitimate talent. In short sections that move rapidly from fiction to fact, prose to line break, and back again, Durbin wantonly attaches his poetic mind to a broad range of topics. One piece, “Warm Leatherette,” finds room for Lil Wayne and the poet Joan Retallack, for volcanic eruptions and police brutality, for Selena Gomez and endlings (the last individual of a species of subspecies). As voices erupt with philosophy and critical theory at the least appropriate moments, and prose suddenly funnels into concrete poetry, Durbin maintains a surprising cohesion. Perhaps this is because of the project’s own idiosyncratic engagement with culture, both pop and otherwise—Durbin pursues the social but is not exactly impassioned. He daydreams about merging with a computer in order to more fully experience Google Earth, “magnifying the normal imperfections and irregularities of the earth so that the planet is rendered transparent, misshapen and yet intoxicating in its languishing distinction from the real.” While so much contemporary writing that engages with pop culture and our digital moment feels flat or misguided, Durbin makes full use of the tools available to him. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/20/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 116 pages - 978-1-937658-29-8
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