Mature Themes




Additional information

Weight .55 lbs
Dimensions 6.2 × .5 × 8.5 in

Andrew Durbin’s Mature Themes is a hybrid text of poetry, art criticism, and memoir focused on the subject of disingenuity—and what constitutes “personal experience” both online and IRL when to “go deep” in a culture of so many unreliable communication technologies is to resend a text at 3 AM. Throughout the book, Durbin’s voice mutates into others in order to uncover the fading specters of meaning buried under the pristine surfaces of art and Hollywood, locating below them the other realities that structure our experience of both.


Mature Themes negatively embraces media culture in its dizzying vortex of self-reflexivity, where facts exist only as powered by dreams, and dreams are in fact, malignant intent.  It’s like that, like a cat chasing its tail.  Durbin’s incisive and often brilliant book offers pitch-perfect feedback of a culture where to go deep is to resend an unanswered text at 3 a.m.

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ISBN: 978-1-937658-23-6
paperback, 132 pages, 6 1/4 x 8 in
Publication Date: 2014

AF: Separate perhaps from the longer, complex forms, could we also approach the prose on a syntactical level? I’ll give you a sentence to start: “The procedure that envelops us culminates in a disavowal of the system we benefit from more substantially than we know.” Obviously an ambiguous “we” appears here, but I can’t even tell if “we” benefit from the system, or if “we” benefit from the system’s disavowal. That sort of localized ambiguity amid the composite stitcheries of multiple narratives occurs throughout the book.

AD: I’m a writer who deals primarily with slippage, thematically but also linguistically and syntactically. When I write these things, sometimes I look at particular sentences and I know that it will read a bit confusing. It’s not always clear who or what the subject is and what is going on at the sense-level. This goes back in some ways to the rehearsal of various critical discourses or modes or criticism. I like how those things can be sort of hollowed out.

AF: I often encountered a disarming slippage. You don’t seem afraid of us finding it there, but you don’t foreground it for us and make it one-hundred-percent clear that you deliberately have presented this ambiguity. You provide a less apologetic or defensive or didactic form of slippage.

AD: I think that kind of slippage you’re talking about is truer to the way we think and talk out loud. On one level, I think the book comes off as polished, but I really like that it’s maybe a little bit unpolished. Sentences stick out, come off as awkward, or maybe a little unclear as to what they are doing. I love awkwardness.

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Andrew Durbin is a writer and editor who lives in New York. He is the author of Mature Themes (2014) and MacArthur Park (2017), both from Nightboat Books. In 2018 …

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