Reality TV Inspired This Poetic Look At People And The Things They Hoard In her latest book of poems, artist Kate Durbin looks at modern consumerism and the way people process trauma and loss through the objects they hoard. Durbin was inspired by the A&E show Hoarders.
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Reality TV Inspired This Poetic Look At People And The Things They Hoard

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Reality TV Inspired This Poetic Look At People And The Things They Hoard

Reality TV Inspired This Poetic Look At People And The Things They Hoard

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Why do people hoard things? Kate Durbin explores this relationship between people and their stuff in a new book of poetry. It's called "Hoarders." And it was inspired by the reality television series of the same name.

KATE DURBIN: My family experiences mental illness, hoarding and substance use.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Which is why Durbin wrote about the show even though she found it hard to watch.

DURBIN: When we watch reality TV shows, there can be judgment that comes along with it. And one of my primary goals is to achieve some level of understanding, however small.

KING: Durbin spent a year and a half watching episodes of "Hoarders" and taking notes. She then used her research and her imagination to write poems that centered on the individuals and their things.

DURBIN: So that could be a category like Barbies or plants or vintage Las Vegas casino items, because I felt like each category really had something to say both about that person and what they've been through in their life and life in the United States.

MARTIN: She also says the objects reveal the hold consumer culture has on American society.

DURBIN: We're told that we'll be happy if we buy all of these things. And so of course, if you've been through pain, you've been through suffering, then you're going to be drawn to buying those products, those little dreams that are sold to you every day.

MARTIN: Here's Durbin reading from the poem "Cathy."

DURBIN: I like the satisfaction of having something new. JTV heart-shaped pink topaz ring and a box that says gift to myself. I've wasted a lot of money. Three identical Forever 21 beaded chiffon maxi dresses. Fifty thousand or more in credit card debt. David's Bridal strapless corset wedding gown with a chapel veil. I have a sickness. Pink medicine ball.

KING: Durbin says her goal with this book is not to fix anything or anyone but simply to listen to what people and their things have to say.

DURBIN: I don't want my children to have a broken home - Thomas Kincaid for Target puzzle of a painting of a snowy cottage, windows aglow with golden light - but, technically, it's a broken home already. Paper plate that says do not flush the toilet in Sharpie.

KING: That's Kate Durbin reading from her poem "Cathy." The new book of poetry is called "Hoarders."

(SOUNDBITE OF HAUSCHKA'S "WHERE WERE YOU, FOR PIANO")

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