Friday, May 21, 2021

Kate Durbin, HOARDERS


I’m Marlena, the worst hoarder on planet Pink Sands Yankee Candle

My house is like a bomb went off at Walmart shattered seashell wreaths, rainbow dream catchers tangled with LED hummingbird wind chimes, tie-dyed lion tapestry with a hole in the lion’s face, Drew Barrymore Flower Home Collection plates with half-eaten Luna bars and dead wasps

I was a fashion model for many years in Europe moth-eaten Balenciaga dresses (“MARLENA”)

Los Angeles-based writer and artist Kate Durbin’s latest poetry title is HOARDERS (Seattle WA/New York NY: Wave Books, 2021), a collection of fifteen portrait-sections, each composed as lyric suites and each christened with the subject’s first name (or, in one case, the names of both subjects), as well as a subtitle that notes their specific geography: “CATHY / Centralia, Illinois,” or “ALICE / Beloit, Washington.” HOARDERS is composed as a set of portraits on hoarders; an installation in the form of a sequence of short lyric suites. Durbin writes out a sequences of hoarders in different locales around the continental United States, each of whom have been overtaken by the excess, citing stories in which all else of their lives has been pushed aside or buried. She writes their stories, opening the excitements, joys, losses and humanity of each subject. The interrupted aspect of the stories sketched out even push aside their stories, mid-sentence. “I’m Alice, and I’m a cashier inside a hole in the wall, yellow / eyes peering,” Durbin writes, to open up Alice’s namesake section. Shaped as responses to in-person interviews, each subject speaks, but become interrupted by the detritus they’ve each incurred. The excesses even overwhelm their stories, interrupt their thoughts and completely take over. One could say that this project underscores an exploration of modern distraction: the ways in which we allow ourselves to fall into holes set out and encouraged by capitalism, purchasing away our lives in a bid to seek safety, security and comfort. Durbin writes each character, each person, as they begin to describe themselves, interrupted, finally, always and eventually by the world in which they live, which they have constructed for themselves. These are stories of slow loss, accumulation and potential self-destruction: the ways in which these characters have come to that brink of losing absolutely everything.

No neighbors have said anything about it to me either on the front door, a sign from the city warning the property is incurring daily fines

It’s been a really long time since anybody came over dining room chairs piled with yellowing Sears catalogues opened to pictures of dining room sets with smiling families hosting smiling guests

The city has been fining me $250 a day until my yard is cleaned and the fees are now in the thousands of shit-filled Aquafina bottles (“HANNAH”)

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