In this poetic series, Andrew K. Peterson probes the interplay between individuality/isolation and community through his observations of life in Harvard Square. Beginning with Hanna Weiner's statement that "[w]e have unknown collaborators," he looks out on this microcosm with a compassionate and engaging eye. As observations and images progress and accumulate, he asks us to participate in the world–both the recollections and images of his world embodied within the poem and our own outside of the poem–as simultaneously observer and participant. We become hyper-aware of our dual state as individual separate from our surroundings and as communal participant with both the world and our fellow individuals. Peterson makes his own way by writing alone though writing of others; writing alone though writing to others; and writing alone though embracing others. All the while, he has faith that we will find our form of participation and become individual collaborators. He, with us accompanying, can then approach periodic moments of ecstatic clarity, where instead of a cluttered mind, we find honed attention allowing us to draw "a complete blank" and create that "statement releasing history / as vacancy."
"I think each format has more impact on an audience’s experience rather than on the work itself. Recently, I was considering format in relation to film viewing; how Casablanca is Casablanca, whether it’s viewed on 35mm film in a theater (perhaps a more ‘social’ scene?), or at home (with others or alone) on broadcast television, a VHS or DVD (rented at a store, or online, or purchased), or streamed. What changes is the viewer’s experience of that content, their place within that variability of connection. Perhaps there’s challenge or, rather, opportunity to make each experience unique, in whatever medium..."
"Durbin’s text masterfully troubles these siren-song waters, engaging the allure and the artificiality of the celebrity women depicted. A quatrain of female personae, the chapbook has four sections, the first of which, 'The Hills,' opens to a color picture of Lauren Conrad playing Lauren Conrad on The Hills. It’s a still from a computer screen, a clip excerpted in what appears to be a YouTube video, and a small reflection from real life, sunlight pouring through vertical blinds, appears in the left-hand corner of the photo. Lauren is crying, a single tear drawing mascara down her cheek in a cinematic way that one can look at and say definitively, 'that moment was created for film.'..."
"I felt stifled as long as I believed I was limited by the written medium, but I don’t feel limited by medium anymore. Text is bigger than the written word. There are texts around us and in us if we are open to seeing them. Additionally, our negative limitations are generally self-and-culture inflicted. My work is, in part, about making negative narratives visible, like a scarlet A written upon a woman’s body in invisible ink, in order that we might no longer go around blindly bound to them. And then to create new texts we can later destroy when they no longer serve..."
"The relationship to place draws forth the invocation that our bodies feel what the eyes lack. It is strange and suggests that what we see (including in this book) will require an undoing of our eyes..."
"It often feels like I’m writing from a memory, or at least a vague, remembered mood. Sometimes these are actual memories; sometimes I mistake something imagined for a memory. In both cases, sight and texture are very much present, but sound usually isn’t. But it’s the auditory, it seems, that can contain the most mystery. Hear that wind outside? Rather, hear those leaves rustling because of the wind? Or was it something else altogether rustling the leaves?"
"The figure of Ouroboros comes to mind with both the concerns and structure of this section, the snake of time circling back and repeating, swallowing itself. A tenuous answer is given to the questions of temporality with this circular pattern. O’Neill’s ruminations on the other plant the speaker on more solid ground. The last poem ends, in part, with a sense of timelessness..."