Orphan, Indiana is a collection of spontaneous outbursts framed by reticence and the guiding mania of the subconscious. Profane and poignant, accidental-seeming but soaring with satirical intent, David Dodd Lee’s poems capture a verisimilitude that’s phenomenological, and yet of the moment.
The poems in Orphan, Indiana are cinematic, disorienting, atmospheric. It’s like we’ve just woken up or are about to go to sleep and the objects/ideas/bits of language have fallen out of their bins/categories and gotten mixed up. We are constantly in a state of surprise—to delightful, humorous, often poignant, effect. Just as each line is formally isolated by white space so that no one line is privileged over another, none of the poet’s wide-ranging interests and concerns are put ahead of others. He is a nature poet, a cultural commentator, an erotic poet, a comic poet, a dumpster poet and a Fragonard poet, a cinema buff and an ice fisherman, a poets’ poet and a people’s poet. There is not a trace of elitism here, no hierarchy. Beauty, lyricism, satire, hallucination, revelation; yes, even wisdom—these qualities are chock-a-block in this fine book.
—Dana Roeser, author of Beautiful Motion and In the Truth Room
There’s an unsettleability to Orphan, Indiana that is relentless and remarkable as it builds upon, and co-exists with, his recent book, The Nervous Filaments. The thinking occurs in quick cuts and side views, as if a manic tour guide were speaking to you on an intermittent intercom on a tour bus riding the back lots of the movie of Americans, or maybe it’s the movie of America itself, where “the air popped in each joint.” It’s a large story of that which is alone, orphan, filament, automatic, that finally becomes both “the migration of Eros” and a journey, a mitigation that “clarifies by degree / The further you are from what scares you.” I really like this book. It’s wonderful.
—John Gallaher, author of The Little Book of Guesses and winner of the 2009 Boston Review poetry contest