THUNDERBIRD INN chronicles the drug-addled misadventures of a man and his friend, Richard, on a transcontinental bender that bottoms out in the Florida panhandle. Fueled by cheap booze and various powders, the duo loiters on the fringes of a decaying America. The poems in the collection are often casket-shaped, not unlike shoebox time capsules. Intimate spaces to die inside. Or live. Or snort horse tranquilizer. Which the narrator and Richard do often in neon lit parking lots. Do they commit a few small crimes? Sure. But there is a loving tenderness to their dysfunctional codependence. The collection itself is shaped by addiction and routine. This is less a tale of recovery and more of a doom spiral. Like a seedy motel, THUNDERBIRD INN is inhabited by outcasts and weirdos. Perhaps near an interstate, in valley stitched together with telephone wires.
"These are dark, end-times poems that Bashō could have written, they’re that intimately observed and described. There’s a run-down small-town America here that Callahan looks at more carefully than most, uncovering the beauties and horrors of roadside motels, the ubiquity of ceiling fans, and a nacho machine that “vomits gold." But there is a curious love about all of this, and friends who move alongside you when you pass through this book. And there is a magic to the close observation that redeems what is often squalid, like a contemporary American Georg Trakl, with just as many drugs." —Matthew Rohrer
Collin Callahan was born in Illinois. His poems have appeared in Granta, Pleiades, Denver Quarterly, SLICE, Hobart, Carve Magazine, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of the 2021 Bat City Review Editors' Prize in Poetry. Collin is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and Florida State University. He currently lives and teaches in Tallahassee. You can find his work at www.collincallahanwrites.com