Book Review: Tonight, We Fuck The Trailer Park Out of Each Other by C. Russell Price
C. Russell Price is a genderqueer poet originally from Virginia but now lives on Chicago’s north side. Previous publications include Assaracus, Court Green, Hound, MiPOesias, Weave, and elsewhere. Price works with The Offing (a channel of the LA Review of Books), Story Club Magazine, and TriQuarterly. They are a 2015 Lambda fellow in poetry and hold a BA from the University of Virginia and an MFA from Northwestern University, where they currently teach creative writing. Price’s chapbook Tonight, We Fuck The Trailer Park Out of Each Other was released by Sibling Rivalry Press in Summer 2016.
A Review C. Russell Price's Tonight, We Fuck the Trailer Park Out of Each Other by R. E. Steele
C. Russell Price’s chapbook Tonight, We Fuck the Trailer Park Out of Each Other is a series of jagged turns through the streets of Chicago exploring relationships and self-harm from a queer writing lens. Their no-nonsense poetry is stylistically highlighted by bands such as Heart and The White Stripes. Price’s fondness for the sea also swims through their poetry. But it’s their use of language throughout their work that sets the tone for an honest conversation with their readers.
Price utilizes profane language to grab their reader’s attention (as if they didn’t already have it with the speaker’s blunt voice). These two combined scrapes off the sugar-coated facade that others might slather onto the topics they address. Price forces their readers to view them for what they are - real.
“…for the writer’s who’s breathing
without seething over love’s legality
or the sensitivity of someone else’s womb −
I’ve got something for his punkass”
Profanity is naturally aggressive; as such it verbally shakes readers into paying closer attention. Here they are able to stress the importance of marriage equality and the right to be pro-choice. Cursing does not take anything away from their poetry, but adds intensity. The decision to use “punkass” changes the tone from upset to urgent. After setting the precedent that their poetry doesn’t tiptoe around these concerns, other pieces in their chapbook do not need to employ expletives to be taken seriously, as the sensory language is so rich and penetrating.
“The body is covered in a million rivers,
Hot-pink, scarring estuaries and all the fish
That scurry up your thighs and sides
Slowly bubble through inflamed wet breaths”
One of the most effective methods that Price uses to bind their poems together is with oceanic metaphors. The book establishes a wave-like flow throughout. The rise and fall of the speaker’s emotional turmoil resembles the waves of the ocean, but also the movement the poem has as a whole. This gives the speaker depth as a character.
In "Whatever We do, It Will Not Be Pretty," the poem discusses finding one’s image, “they will boil you/down to one indigestible line.” Readers may be unclear about the switch in pronouns from “they” to “I”, but that simply identifies the relationship the author has created with the speaker in this powerful piece. “I’ll paperdoll you/into a story you cannot/control”. This refers to something that is two-dimensional. A story you don’t want is one that is paper thin, flat – like a paperdoll. Price articulates this difference between the man who speaks in “indiscernible idioms” and the one the speaker implies will be categorized as an “everyman.” This not only compares the distinction between the speaker and the character, but also the poet and the reader.
Price’s poetry is layered with aggressive candor that readers can relate to through the authenticity in their tone. Their work even includes a Post-Reading Playlist for complete submersion into their work. Their use of duality is more apparent in this instance, displaying how easily their ideas transcend the page and are cemented into reality. “The world needs more drag/you into the street poetry” like this!