The Reading Series: Kate Durbin's "iPrincess"

There are many ways to consider Tumblr in the mirror when Tumblr is a person. And when Tumblr is a person the person is Kate Durbin.

In "iPrincess" the act of speaking is democratized. Durbin talks to the world and to no one in particular. It's a scatter of dialogue as specific to a person as individuals are to a group. In this way, performance becomes the new social media: a way of reaching out to the world.

The mirror in Durbin's video poem juxtaposes a real self with a virtual, projected self. Durbin says: "don't send me nudes send me your body like your actual physical body so i can see you and be with you." The image of a person is acknowledged, but thousands of copies can be made from one original.

This contrasts with a line in John Ashbery's poem, "A Blessing in Disguise," when he writes, "I prefer "you" in the plural, I want "you." This is a gesture that minds not the plurality of one subject. There is a distinction between the plural everyone and the specific you. But specificity in Durbin's poem is universal.

This is a place where individual thoughts are viewed as a collective whole. The thoughts are displayed as personal events, as an internet narrative. This is a personified Tumblr feed, and we are just scrolling through. This is what it means to be the internet.

Kate Durbin is a Los Angeles-based writer, performer, and transmedia artist. She is author of The Ravenous Audience (Akashic Books), and co-author of Abra, forthcoming in iOS and artist's book editions. She has also written five chapbooks, including, most recently, Kept Women (Insert Press). Winner of an &Now Innovative Writing Award, she recently received an Expanded Artists' Book grant from the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago. She is founding editor of Gaga Stigmata, and teaches literature and writing at Whittier College.