Kate Durbin

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Kate Durbin
GenrePoetry, fiction, visual arts, digital art, pop cultural criticism

Kate Durbin is a Los Angeles, California based writer, digital and performance artist.[1] She is the author of several books of fiction and poetry including E! Entertainment, ABRA, The Ravenous Audience, and five chapbooks. Durbin's work primarily centers around popular culture, gender, and digital media. She has been a Visiting Instructor of English, teaching literature and writing at Whittier College since 2008.[2]

Of Durbin's writing, Christopher Higgs wrote for HTML Giant: "I call Kate Durbin one of the most compelling contemporary American writers because I feel like she’s in her own lane. No one does what she does in the way that she does it." [3]

Internet based projects[edit]

Durbin founded the online critical journal Gaga Stigmata: Critical Writings and Art about Lady Gaga, in 2010. The blog critically engages with Gaga's "shock pop phenomenon" and "moves at the speed of pop," responding to pop cultural phenomenon almost instantly after they occur. Gaga Stigmata has received considerable press attention from sources as diverse as NPR, CBC's Q, Yale's American Scholar Magazine, AOL, The Atlantic, Spex, Huffington Post, Pop Matters, Berfrois, Voice Tribune, and many others. Members of Gaga's team, including Nicola Formichetti, hair stylist Frederic “Freddie” Aspiras, and visual artist Millie Brown have also tweeted and praised Gaga Stigmata's work. The journal has been used as a resource in classrooms across the world, and has been studied at conferences as a phenomenon in its own right, as a new way to do criticism in the era of the internet.[4][5]

Durbin's Tumblr project Women As Objects created an online archive of the teen girl Tumblr aesthetic through real-time re-blogging.[6][7]

Kate Durbin curated, "Girls Online," a best of her Women as Objects tumblr project, for the website Bright Stupid Confetti.[8] Of "Girls Online" New York Magazine critic Jerry Saltz wrote: "Some of that information in that Kate Durbin show bordered on the sacred and forbidden for me. Extraordinarily important visual information to have in the culture. The ideas she's plumbing in that 'show' or 'grouping' feel apt. Ripe."


The Ravenous Audience, a collection of poetry that utilizes a wide variety of forms, was selected by Chris Abani for the Black Goat imprint of Akashic Books. The book deals with coming of age via a variety of media, from poems based on the films of Catherine Breillat to rewrites of archetypal figures such as Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Marilyn Monroe, Amelia Earhart, Jezebel, and Clara Bow. In a review for Rain Taxi, Johannes Goransson called the book "iconophilic, starving...a poetics of Plath-influenced engagement with the peanut crunching crowd." [9] Poet Juan Felipe Herrera called it "a brutal tour de force."

E! Entertainment, Durbin's second book, consists mostly of meticulously re-worked transcriptions of reality television shows revolving around women, class and lifestyle themes. Some of the shows in Durbin's book are Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and MTV's The Hills. Durbin calls the book's format "literary television, a genre unto itself." "E! Entertainment also explores the courtroom trials of Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Knox, and Anna Nicole Smith. Nylon magazine said of the book: "Durbin elevates petty O.C. arguments between Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag to the status of serious literature." Heidi Montag herself praised the book,[10] calling Durbin "pop culture's stenographer."


  • E! Entertainment. Brooklyn, NY. Wonder. 2014 OCLC 798717474
  • Kept Women." 2012. OCLC 835147784
  • The Ravenous Audience. New York. Akashic. 2009. OCLC 318876217
  • Fragments Found in a 1937 Aviator's Boot. Chicago, Ill. Dancing Girl Press. 2009.OCLC 456560773
  • ABRA. Center for Book and Paper Arts. Chicago, Ill. (iPad app and artist's book).


External links[edit]