Derrick Austin's new A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize-winning book Trouble the Water recently received a glowing review from Devil’s Lake. Calling the collection “rich and rewarding,” reviewer Jacques J. Rancourt says: "The debut poetry book has, since perhaps W.D. Snodgrass’s Heart’s Needle, become of its own a sub-genre: the art of declaring oneself, of revealing one’s influences as much as subverting those influences into a new and vibrant hybrid. In a year of truly stunning debuts, especially from other queer men (such as Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky with Exit Wounds, Rickey Laurentiis’ Boy with Thorn, Richie Hofmann’s Second Empire, and Phillip B. William’s Thief in the Interior), Derrick Austin holds his own through the splicing and melding of his many poetic selves."
The review goes on to note the wide appeal of Austin's new collection, and how the poet speaks honestly and truthfully about his own identity and the identities of those around him: "Part pastoral, part ekphrasis, part witness, part eco-poetics, part queer pop culture—it is too easy to say that Austin’s poems live inside the elastic tension between high and low art, between religious devotion and queer desire; it is too easy to say that Austin contains multitudes. At times, Trouble the Water reads like four definitive chapbook-length projects, but it is his insistence throughout the book on art’s ability to reveal rather than salve, his insistence on the corporal holiness of the body, even (especially) a queer body, in a socially puritanical world, that allows these varied poems to converse with each other and ultimately complicate each other. Trouble the Water is a rich and rewarding collection."
Burrow Press also published a great interview with Derrick Austin on the new book. Click here to read the full interview.
Trouble the Water is available now at the BOA Bookstore.