How can we carve private spaces from discarded publics?
DOWN takes junk language – with cameos by Frank O’Hara, Frank Ocean, Aaliyah and the Temptations – and distresses it, building sonically dense poems that are caught between the poignancy and flatness of their source texts. Disorientation and defamiliarization yank fresh feeling from banal sentiments in this playful collection.
‘I’ve believed in Dowling’s poems for a long time with you. Or maybe you’re just now catching up to how the genius is working her machine on our minds? Gravity of letter in the word measured and dispensed with inimitable grace. The words are familiar, yes, but we get them again from this magnificent poet who is not going to let us just trample the smallest of them. I have tremendous respect for any poet who strives to be even half as great as Sarah Dowling. ’
‘After all of the previous avant-garde’s perpetual rediscoveries of Gertrude Stein's formal innovations, Dowling reminds us that her best poetry was, above all, sexy. Where Dowling surpasses is in her recognition of the phatic, the emphatic, the obsessive understanding of the cultural syntax of infatuation. Everything in DOWN is palpably cloudy in its thick description: I am starstruck. ’
— Craig Dworkin
'One is urged to pencil “beautiful!?* in the margins. '
'This book masterfully captures the task Dowling sets for herself to be “machine-like but utterly sincere. ?*'