The descriptor “outsider”– as in “outsider art” or “outsider music”–is a loaded adjective. Whatever you think it means (and even if that’s “nothing”), we can all agree that it points to some indefinable quality of strangeness in a work. Any definition beyond that gets thorny.
Safe to say, then, that Brandon Scott Gorrell is working in the vein of the outsider artist. His full-length book of poetry, during my nervous breakdown i want to have a biographer present is a thoroughly confounding collection of pieces with titles like “gmail” and “today i empathized with the top of a tower”. It is either extremely easy to understand or extremely befuddling; I’m still not sure which. Published by Muumuu House, Gorrell’s work feels like the kind of poetry that very few people will like but those few people will like it immensely. Faint praise? No, just praise with an advanced warning.