When Guernica Editions asked me to review some of their more recent publications, I was completely at a loss as to what they were going to send me. Would it be novels? Nonfiction? Poetry? It turned out I ended up with a variety of titles, and the one I gravitated to most immediately was David Huebert’s first poetry collection We are no longer the smart kids in class. Huebert’s excellent collection of poems is exciting, relatable, and bawdy.
We are no longer the smart kids in class is a contemplative collection full of poems about sex, drunkenness, and contemporary life. Huebert’s work runs the gamut from “to a beer-swillin’ poet,” a story about an awful night in a drunk tank, to “in case you were wondering,” a story about falling in love with someone falling in love with literature, various poems about Toronto, and “life after Twitter,” a keen observation of how social media and cloud-based e-mail fail completely to interact with death.
Perhaps the most interesting piece in the collection is the brilliant “twenty-four abandoned attempts at the beginning of my first novel,” a piece which is just downright fun. We are no longer the smart kinds in class is accessible, literate poetry that engages the reader by allowing itself to settle into the world which inspired it. I look forward to reading more from Huebert.
“I want to ride your moby dick all night.
Love, Captain Ahab.”
– in case you were wondering
“Machine denied proper burial,
left to rot in shame, like Polynices
on the battlefield of Thebes.
O, Bicycle, where is your Antigone?”
– cadaver on bloor street
“When I am old
I will yearn
“22) As I write this I’m surrounded by cats. Literally. There are mountains of the fuckers, all around me. They’re all over my body – legs, neck, shoulders, head, hands. I’m submerged in the undergrowth of a veritable feline jungle.”
– twenty-four abandoned attempts at the beginning of my first novel
Originally from Halifax, David Huebert has lived in Revelstoke, Fernie, Victoria, and Toronto. He is currently a PhD student at Western University, and his work has appeared in Event, Vallum, The Literary Review of Canada, and The Dalhousie Review.