In his latest collection, Random Exorcisms, Adrian C. Louis writes poems with the rough-edged wit and heart-wrenching sincerity that make him one of the seminal voices in contemporary American poetry. Deeply rooted in Native American traditions and folklore, these poems tackle a broad range of subjects, including Facebook, zombies, horror movies, petty grievances, real grief, and pure political outrage. In a style entirely his own, Louis writes hilarious, genuine, self-deprecating poems that expel a great many demons, including any sense of isolation a reader might feel facing a harsh and lonely world.
In the poem “Necessary Exorcism,” the speaker exorcises himself, more or less, of his grief for his deceased wife. “I made my choice so easily & picked red drama, the joyous pain of it all,” he writes. “Minor Exorcism: 1984” is one of a series of poems that contemplates the memories of small, simple mundanes, like catching a fish, until, “My old heart is thrashing with / long-forgotten boyhood joy.” “Dog the Bounty Hunter Blogs” confronts some of the cruel absurdities of reality TV, while “Naked, Midnight, Sober, Facebooking” expels a great many fearful things, including the fear of growing older. These are poems that make you laugh and cry, nod appreciatively, and then laugh just a little more.
Born and raised in Nevada, Adrian C. Louis is an enrolled member of the Lovelock Paiute Tribe. A graduate of Brown University where he also earned a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing, Louis was professor of English at Minnesota State University in Marshall until his retirement in 2014. Author of ten books of poems, including Logorrhea, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Louis also wrote two works of fiction: Wild Indians & Other Creatures and Skins.