Ten Opening Paragraphs for a Review of Jordan Castro’s New Books

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“Readers who have been craving a comprehensive examination of the inner lives of pooping poets will not want to miss Jordan Castro’s new books Young Americans and if i really wanted to feel happy i’d feel happy already.”

“Jordan Castro is one of the the Buckeye State’s most promising young poets, but unfortunately it seems unlikely that this year’s Ohioana Poetry Award will go to feeling so retarded/ staring out a window/ at a nice-looking tree/ navigating the internet/ beneath warm blankets/ fall in ohio.”

“In creative writing, there’s a thin line between striving for simplicity and feigning intellectual disability.”

“When the literary historians of the 21st century are tracing the emergence of what might come to be known as the ‘ironic macho’ movement, they’ll surely cite Jordan Castro, the author of such lines of poetry as what are the long-term effects of touching my moustache so frequently and thought ‘i look too good to be doing this shit’ while laying in fetal position on bedroom floor and crying.”

“I recently passed on a story submitted to my site Unreality House, telling the author that ‘This makes me curious about this character, but it feels like a minor episode taken from a larger story—it doesn’t really do much on its own.’ After reading Jordan Castro’s story ‘The Last, And,’ it occurred to me that perhaps I’d been dismissing an entire genre.”

“This morning I read a short story by Nancy Hale that explored the inner world of an American youth circa 1934. She had never imagined such violent sensations as beat at her; inside she was like the summer itself—sultry and fiery, and racked by instantaneous thunderstorms. This afternoon, I read the poem ‘Young Americans’ by Jordan Castro. I feel incredibly high/ after ingesting adderall, marijuana, vicoprofen, and alcohol/ and linking a recent publication on my twitter feed.”

“Whether or not he succeeds, Jordan Castro has made a bold stab at lifting the mantle of coffee-as-personal-brand from the shoulders of Agent Cooper.”

“When you read a lot of alt lit, you might find yourself wondering why you’re reading this flat, unemotional narrative instead of more traditional, colorful literature. Then you hit a passage that’s somehow snuck in from that world—like, say, nighttime is my mirror/ and i don’t know how to face it—and you remember why you needed a break from trad lit.”

“When I Instagrammed a photo of my iPad featuring a page from Jordan Castro’s book Young Americans and then, while I read the book, the author liked my photo and then sent me an e-mail saying ‘Thank you for posting re Instagram,’ I felt as though I’d been baptized in the Church of Alt Lit.”

“Jordan Castro’s if i really wanted to feel happy i’d feel happy already is the first book-length work I’ve ever read to feature exclusively ironic exclamation points.”

Jay Gabler