ACID WESTERN is a mutagenic contemporary anti-western. The poems in this collection can be seen as dispatches from the architectures of the terrain of the hyperobjects one finds themselves inside of in the 21st century, in which the social and political structures moved through on a daily basis are occurring (scaling, nesting + accumulation, incompletion, ephemerality, and oscillation are recurring features of the collection).
Time and space are also important features of these poems, both thematically, as well as formally in their composition. The notes that became the poems were written over a period of time, and arranged into the sequences here. The idea is to capture a sense of the time, space, distance, multiplicity, and complexity of the daily mundane; intersecting, looping, reiterating through this and these spaces within large and varied timescapes, in an effort to describe a sense of scale and an unfolding of interconnected events and entities, within the contemporary reverberations of violent foundational mythologies, culminating with a direct entreaty in an effort to dissolve the atomization of the enmeshed collective.
ACID WESTERN doggedly confronts the contemporary malaise we try (and fail) to ignore more and more every day: what to do with the mess of data and busted language that skitters through the air around us, or, as Balun heartbreakingly calls it in a deictic gesture for the ages, "all this this." By doing some top-notch demolition work and stripping his lines down to their essences, Balun likewise builds these caring, weightless lyric poems that course through their negative space rather than overcrowd or shout through the page. What do we do with our malaise in Robert's poems? We wake up, we look for traps, we course through the mess by listening. You ever wake up on a weekend next to someone you love? This crusher of a debut feels like that. There's hope in that feeling, along with life, along with the unknowable. In poem after poem after poem, I kept thanking Robert Balun for creating this world in which the phones are off, the streams haven't yet begun, the banners haven't come to cover us, and the sun is still steeping up in the sky. - Danniel Schoonebeek
About the Author
Robert Balun is an adjunct at The City College of New York, where he teaches creative writing and composition. His poems are forthcoming from Reality Beach and Powder Keg Magazine. Recent work appears in TAGVVERK, Tammy, Prelude, Barrow Street, Poor Claudia, Apogee, Cosmonauts Avenue, and others.