David Trinidad’s Plasticville by Amy Gerstler

Part of the Editor's Choice series.

BOMB 71 Spring 2000
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Toys “R” Us is the name of a popular retail chain. It’s also a strong sentiment (albeit expressed more elegantly) in David Trinidad’s witty and tightly unified poetry collection Plasticville. But don’t be fooled: Plasticville is not just a bubbling up of nostalgia for bygone toys, games, TV shows, and songs. And it’s not merely an aficionado’s listing of Barbie doll accessories, a hit feverish in its exhaustiveness. These poems are sprightly and amusing but also wistful and forlorn. Plasticville provides readers with a model train tour of a fastidiously kept alternative world where fixation provides bright temporary relief from the pain and confusion of growing up human. The author of eight previous books, Trinidad allows his pet subjects—dolls, the secret sorrows of celebrities, highbrow and lowbrow, loneliness, childhood’s entwining of innocence and decadence—to reign supreme. His acute formal control vies exquisitely with the writing’s messier causes, so that even poems with deliciously cheesy subjects tease and glide expertly from line to line. Plasticville is part diary, part TV Guide, part history of the world according to B-movie epics, part excursion into the attic of ones formative years (and thus the idiosyncrasy of sexual identity). Charles Baudelaire wrote, “The overriding desire of most children is to get at and see the souls of their toys.” Perhaps this is so because some kids look at their dolls and long to trade places. Plasticville is infused with the spirit of a boy who wanted to become Pinocchio, not the other way around.

—Amy Gerstler


Plasticville by David Trinidad will be published this spring by Turtle Paint Press.

Four Poems by David Trinidad
James Nares
Geoffrey O’Brien by Luc Sante
Obrien 01 Body

Geoffrey O’Brien and Luc Sante unearth the subtext that was Times Square in the ’60s, “the round-the-clock festival of junk culture and lyrical sleaze.”

Harmony Holiday by Farid Matuk
Miles Davis Trumpets

“I don’t want the kind of career where everything is sensible and safe; I’d rather suffer through the anxiety of wondering where I’m going next than suffer the boredom of dancing in the same safe square.”

Portfolio by Walter Robinson
Walter Robinson Bomb 03

The bed sheet as metaphor for the continuous field of consciousness

Originally published in

BOMB 71, Spring 2000

Featuring interviews with Frank Stella, John Currin, Jim Crace, Frances Kiernan, Brian Boyd, Marsha Norman, and Arto Lindsay. 

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