REVIEW: IR /RATIONAL – KALEB TUTT (ROARING JUNIOR PRESS)

How often do we drift into reclusion after thinking about occurrences that are subjectively rational or ir/rational? Based around the fundamental approach of dismantling the unknown, these poems dive head first into (seemingly) unexplainable fears that we share our showers and bedrooms with. Many of these works flow through what could be considered as a “logical” pattern of thoughts/concerns. The result makes the reading experience both intricate yet expedient simultaneously. Each poem opens with a line that creates the mood of the poem, but helps to further understand what its title encompasses. If you have ever wondered if “that” one in a million situation could happen, Tutt has opened the floor for its discussion.

“I basically wrote down a list of my biggest fears and tried to evoke the feeling of those fears through my words.” 

Broken into four chapters, the dissection of the subject matter is complex. Through categorical groupings such as “Moonstruck” and “Horror Vacui”, Tutt ushers the reader into the edges of discomfort. Lines like “they’re inside of you” (Teniophobia) prepare the reader to understand the subject matter, all the while giving the spine chilling feeling we all seek from a good horror film. “I’ve always been a scared person. I decided that in order to actually overcome my fears, I had to do it in the most personally intimate way I knew how – which, for me, is poetry” shares Tutt. This collection utilizes a subtle progression style that can be seen prominently as you read further into its pages. In the haunting Coulrophobia, Tutt plays on the subconscious connection made between death, hospitals and clowns. When asked about this, he responds “In the fear of clowns, I wanted to give readers a sense of unease inside their own homes – a place they were meant to be safe. The hospital phobia ties into that as I found it to be another place we are meant to be safe. How can places we are meant to be safe be so scary? This is a theme I really wanted to explore…”

Definitions and labels are provided to feelings that some of us have never dared to discuss. I find myself speechless and searching for words to describe how I felt reading the final pieces Casadastraphobia and Kenophobia. As one who often finds himself daydreaming and in wonder, the words of these two pieces sometimes engulf me in my random moments. “Gravity will fail as nothing is promised, the Sun does not have to rise if She does not desire” (Casadastraphobia) comforts me in a very unique way, yet “Throw your digital self through warped funhouse glass, refuse to face your distorted doppelgänger” (Kenophobia) feels as though it directly confronts me. Until reading this book, I have not been approached by my fears in this way. However, I thoroughly enjoyed being so intrigued by the conversation that I have had with them. ir/rational is a complex reflection on the things that both consume us and complicate our lives inexplicably.


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