Check out the review of Associate Professor, David Trinidad’s most recent book: Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera in the Summer 2014 issue of The Antioch Review!
"David Trinidad has watched all 514 episodes of the 1960s primetime soap opera Peyton Place and, for each episode, created a strict but non- traditional haiku—strict in that every poem adheres to the five-seven-five syllable rule; nontraditional in that, far from contemplating nature, these poems focus on such matters as hairdos, fake snow, and celebrity gossip. This is a remarkable concept. The original soap can be considered, in Susan Sontag’s words, “pure Camp”: something not intended to be artificial or funny but, by present-day standards, overly theatrical and extravagant. Trinidad has imposed a further layer of artifice—the haiku—to mock but also, in a way, to memorialize the old TV show, creating what Sontag calls “deliberate Camp.” Along the way, he consistently resists the temptation to “get serious”: he never uses episodes as a point of departure to create more “poetic” or aphoristic kinds of poems. Sontag: “the connoisseur of Camp sniffs the stink [of pop culture] and prides himself on his strong nerves.” And the reader sniffs the stink along with Trinidad, and senses his love-hate feelings toward the show (and the culture that spawned it). The poet manages to stay aloof but, at times, gets drawn into the plot, in spite of himself: “Morality, truth, / courage, integrity—big / words for the small screen”; “So many bad lines / and actors to poke fun at, / so few syllables”; “Got so involved in / the stupid plot, forgot to / look for things to mock.” There are some comic high points, as, for example: “You, who hold this in / your hand, do you know what a / mimeograph was?” Throughout this romp, Trinidad gently nudges us to wonder what grand edifices of 2014 will morph into the pure Camp of 2064.
” Alex M. Frankel, The Antioch Review
The Antioch Review, Vol. 72, No. 3, Annual All Fiction Issue (Summer 2014), pp. 605-606