Photography by Kristiina Wilson
Whether it was Rimbaud flitting about 19th-century Europe or Allen Ginsberg pacing the pavement of 1950s New York, there’s been a longstanding tradition of the poet as a countercultural icon. No one embodies this institution better than Alex Dimitrov.
A slight, thoughtful, Bulgarian-born poet, Dimitrov first received attention for hosting Wilde Boys, a Manhattan poetry salon known for attracting notebook-toting hipsters and colossuses of verse. But with his debut collection, Begging for It, slated to publish in early 2013, and this summer’s release of the chapbook American Boys -- an appetizer to whet one’s poetic appetite -- Dimitrov might soon find himself more often playing guest of honor than host.
“American Boys is eight poems and has a variety of digital ephemera throughout,” he says. “There are Grindr screen grabs and text messages, and I’m debating whether or not I can use emails.”
For those not convinced that poetry, no matter how modern, addresses anything that might interest them, Dimitrov’s work speaks for itself.
“The poems feel very summery,” he explains, “and a lot of them are about sex and sadness.”
The Sarah Lawrence–educated scribe isn’t churning out the poet’s equivalent of a Katy Perry song, however. “I would say American Boys thinks about different things: how we communicate with one another and the America that we’re sold versus the one we actually live in,” he says. “In Begging for It are poems about emigrating, having sex for the first time, falling in love for the first time, writing and reading for the first time. It’s my coming-of-age book.”