Starting with lyric statement as a point of interrogation, "Fortified Castles" asks what might cause retreat into the comforting walls of the self. North American culture is saturated with discourses of self-improvement and self-awareness at the same time it is full of anxiety over the things that separate us. Moving from a stock-ticker tableau of economic and environmental crisis to the difficulty of finding one another in the streets, the poems in "Fortified Castles" stage impasse after impasse, locating the Western subject between the ramparts it walks and the barricades it throws up.
Composed in three sections, "Fortified Castles" constructs a complex web of interpersonal disconnection from the anonymous detritus of our self-obsessed neoliberal moment. Written contemporaneously with the 2008 economic crisis, the first section, "21st Century Monsters," imagines a number of world-ending scenarios from the collapse of the environment to the collapse of capitalism to the collapse of culture, forming a questioning and questionable primer on the things that terrify us. The second section, "Fortified Castles," heavily recombines found material in a lengthy serial collage composed of multiplied and impersonal personal statements that add up in unanticipated ways, cascading in knee-jerk patterns of anxious hand-wringing and stubborn unreasonableness.
Written during the 2011 Occupy protests, the final section, "Friendship Is Magic," positions the hopeful connections of that moment beside the privilege rippling through it, interrogating the very real tension between working collectively and living comfortably.