PRAISE FOR DIG

A Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry & Stonewall Honor Book in Literature as selected by the American Library Association

"Bryan Borland is talking to you and everything is at stake. There’s a lot of ferocity and a little bit of dread just beneath the surface of these quiet lyrics and narratives—but Borland knows how to spin shame and grief into love. These poems phosphoresce tenderness and violence in equal parts like a gentle calamity. Borland does not flinch in the face of grand and devastating forces. 'This is resurrection,' he observes. 'The end of one faith. The beginning of another.' Borland has more than proven his mettle as a man of letters with both his previous work and with his commitments to queer literature as a publisher, and this new collection heralds a powerful maturing of his poetic voice." – Kazim Ali

"Bryan Borland writes of marriage, but the kind of marriage that rattled Blake’s visions—or as Borland puts it, the body 'bored by its own heart so it becomes / the eater of hearts.' Here you’ll find love poems, but the kind few valentines have the courage to write, missives of love as contrary ache, as an exercise in animal need: 'There are hollow places in us / that are hungry. We know the risk / of not having them filled.' DIG is a collection that does what it says it’s going to do—relentlessly, ruthlessly—digging into the body, into the merciless desire of the body, into the ground that gave the body birth and will someday take it back again." – Nickole Brown & Jessica Jacobs

 

"That most hackneyed of literary genres—the love poem—gets a serious shaking up and makeover in Bryan Borland’s wonderful series of exactly that. There’s an honesty and openness, a willingness to explore dark corners of relationships and the past but also to celebrate the many sides of the sheer joy of being young and together that illuminates every page of DIG. These poems are fresh as tomorrow." – Felice Picano

"In his third book of poems, Bryan Borland wields a deft and lyrical hand, cracks open the heart, and imagines a mind where madness is beautiful and 'everything is instinct.' He chronicles a marriage that is not your mother’s marriage, but that you will recognize as true love. He unflinchingly examines and records the intimacies of our 'human countries,' gifting the reader with poems that are radical, witty, and tender. Be prepared for Borland’s large and unadulteratedly queer vision. Bring a hankie—gold, olive, white, or anything in between." – Denise Duhamel & Maureen Seaton

Borland lifts a banner for not only his own relationships, but a systemic brotherhood; and beneath startling verse is a rational blueprint for male love. Borland's poetic formulations, with their complexities, artfully integrate to build a community of connections, starting with look at me, and how and why I love.

- WASHINGTON INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF BOOKS


Bryan Borland proclaimed on an electronic billboard in WeHo during National Poetry Month this year, his face in lights: "We grieve like we eat like we kiss  / these lantern ways of our American south." The lines are from "Lonoke," one of several wonderful love poems in DIG, Borland's third poetry collection. DIG makes it clear that Borland is indeed a gay man from the "American south," specifically, Arkansas. The fight for gay rights in Arkansas has been a long, rough road. As far as I know, Bryan Borland is Arkansas' first notable out gay poet. In 2015, the Arkansas Times published Borland's poem "Dive," in which two men who "wear only what we have to today, ragged/ old shirts and shorts that show we're/ interested in being men" walk through a terrifically hot (as in a hundred degrees) city, and the poem ends with a hot (as in très sexy) image of the two men screwing. DIG is a brave, loving, and lovely collection, a poignant shedding of any Arkansas-inflicted remnants of internalized homophobia, and a celebration of the poet's marriage. The love poems speak louder and more joyously than the poet's evangelical neighbors in the Bible Belt. "We know there will be gossip/ between the pews," but the love between the poet and his beloved husband Seth is palpable enough to charm the Christians. - GAY & LESBIAN REVIEW WORLDWIDE 

DIG provides a poetic, honest look at a mature gay relationship. It also demonstrates how, in just a short time, Borland's poetry has gone from strength to strength since his debut book, My Life as Adam (2010), his subsequent, Less Fortunate Pirates (2012) to DIG (2016) This opinion is confirmed by Borland's receipt of the 2016 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award. - AMSTERDAM QUARTERLY

READ A REVIEW: Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide

 

READ A REVIEW: Amsterdam Quarterly

 

READ A REVIEW: Washington Independent Review of Books

 

READ AN INTERVIEW: Arkansas Times

 

READ AN INTERVIEW: Dodge Poetry Festival: Ask a Poet

 

READ AN INTERVIEW: Writer's Digest

 

READ AN INTERVIEW: Desert Sun

 

READ AN INTERVIEW: San Francisco Bay Times (page 21)

 

READ A REVIEW: Bay Area Reporter

 

DIG IS AN SPD BESTSELLER: Poetry Bestsellers

 

DIG IS A STONEWALL HONOR BOOK: American Library Association

GET YOUR COPY: Stillhouse Press

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