“Dutch poet Nadia de Vries’s debut collection, Dark Hour(Dostoyevsky Wannabe) captures the plight of poets writing in the digital age. Often composing scenes involving sickness, lassitude, abandonment, and death, she pokes fun at the seriousness of these themes, as though playfully provoking them to bite her. “I love how poetry has given me something sensible / to direct my anger towards” she writes in “Ultimate Survival.” In this way, she wryly invokes poetry’s ivory tower intellectualism, while setting the stage for a personal theater of rage, at times directed at parasitic ruptures to domestic routines. More importantly, though, what underlies these intimations of anger is a desire to overcome the distance between word and thing, sign and signified. For de Vries, this distance is compounded with the way English has become the official language of Internet culture. Frequently echoing phrasings from memes and social media conventions more generally, de Vries’s language is a cross between chat-room brevity and Minecraft-inspired Romanticism.”

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