Addicts & Basements by Robert Vaughan

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"Drawing its energy from society’s underbelly—the dim corner booths of bars, the stalls of public bathrooms, the thickets of unkempt parks—Vaughan’s book is part prose poem, part fractured sonnet, part Whitmanian love-cry. 'What were your last thoughts, Ophelia?  Were / you loved enough?  Will I ever know when I am?'  When this poet speaks, we are compelled by the plaintive urgency of eros in his voice.  On the edge of a low-lit Interstate highway somewhere between Los Angeles and New York City, Addicts & Basements yawps and pivots and veers, praising its own wreckage.”
—Dorianne Laux, author of The Book of Men

"Robert Vaughan’s poems are peopled with painfully human characters, depicted with an unnerving authenticity and irreverent compassion. In ‘Turkey Town,’ a young man working a wedding banquet sneaks out back when the father-of-the-bride dance begins because he misses his own father: 'The cold hurt my lungs, made it hard to breathe.' In ‘The Patio,’ patrons are ‘sucking down margaritas’ and ‘gnawing chips’ at an outdoor restaurant when there’s a car crash and they become witnesses to the scene. In ‘Bonus Question,’ a woman calls into a late-night radio quiz, but instead of giving an answer, she asks, 'Will you love me?' The deejay is unmoved, but the poet says: 'Somewhere, lying in the darkness … someone who has never seen her face whispers yes.' These are poems to break your heart, but Robert Vaughan is always whispering ‘yes.’”
—Ellen Bass, author of The Human Line

"Robert Vaughan is a voice I am glad to know, and his excellent debut, Addicts & Basements, is a collection full of confidence and startling complexity. Pick it up; you won’t be able to put it down.”
—Gregory Sherl, author of The Oregon Trail is the Oregon Trail


Kirkus Reviews, Entropy, Digging Through the Fat, The Literary Underground, What Weekly, Author Alliance, 2 Paragraphs