Gunpowder Press is honored to present the 2016 Barry Spacks Poetry Prize winner, Kurt Olsson, and his collection, Burning Down Disneyland. Burning Down Disneyland was selected by final judge Thomas Lux.
I love the title of this book…and I love the innovative mischief of its poems. Let it be known: a true poetic intelligence and imagination live between its covers.
—Thomas Lux, author of To the Left of Time
Burning Down Disneyland is a remarkable work—poems that move in propulsive leaps, that crackle like fire. Olsson’s lines unfurl with an almost molecular agitation, zinging at the speed of synapses as sparks fly from flints. These poems are wrought in the great invisible furnace of the psyche.
—Marsha de la O, author of Antidote for Night
For Burning Down Disneyland, Kurt Olsson has risked the hazards of childhood and adulthood—both “lethal as an alley in a kung-fu movie”—gleaning from memory’s usual store of shame and humiliation quality tinder to stoke the purifying, transformative flames of his often apocalyptic imagination. The resulting poems, freed of the dross of self-pity and sentiment, are playful, absurd, vulnerable, provocative, disquieting, and at times necessarily repugnant…but they are never ordinary, and, like their author, they never flinch.
—Mark Drew, editor of The Gettysburg Review
Kurt Olsson is the author of What Kills What Kills Us (Silverfish Review Press). He lives and works just outside of Washington, D.C.