We Are No Longer the Smart Kids in Class
David Huebert, 63 pgs, Guernica Editions, guernicaeditions.com, $18
David Huebert’s debut work We Are No Longer the Smart Kids in Class is a collection of poetry that contemplates what it means to be a contemporary urban youth. Huebert’s poems are bawdy, straight forward, and relatable at times regrettably so. I recalled the “sad pale bodies” of awkward sex, the countless nights where I should have taken the last train home instead of another drink, and other shameful stumbles I took in my younger years. Huebert’s work is cathartic, kind of like someone speaking at a support group for the young and self destructive. His goal isn’t to shame you. Rather, he assures you that being young entails being pretty damn stupid and that we’ve all been there.
Huebert speaks directly to millennials and mocks 21st century culture. “Life After Twitter” asks the question of what happens to a social media account when the user is too dead to post anything. “Radicals”, which is essentially a mock manifesto to the hipster movement, highlights popular youth trends that pretend to be individualistic and original. I loved these poems, mostly because I hate social media and make fun of ironic facial hair, but I use Facebook and perhaps am no better than my mustachioed peers. Drunk tanks, collective nonconformity, and sloppy sexuality are all a part of the modern coming-of- age story. Huebert doesn’t revolutionize this idea, nor is he trying to. These poems are just a reminder that it’s OK to be a dumb kid dealing with the growing pains of a changing world. (Rayna Livingstone-Lang)