Oliver Driscoll’s note on his first book I Don’t Know How That Happened praises the inclusive flatness of David Hockney’s still life paintings, and it is to this inclusiveness that his poems and prose pieces aspire. Droll reported speech creates a comic atmosphere but also moves into Kafkaesque alienation where nothing seems to follow any pattern. Sometimes these casual observations feel undercooked, but at times the flatness works as cool satire:
I read an extract about a piece I wrote about Sarajevo and Bosnian literature at a small university panel event. At the end of the event, an audience member asked if I was of Bosnian heritage. No, I said. The man beside me on the panel said, ha, yeah, we used to be able to do that, right, claim other people’s suffering. The piece is kind of about that, I said, how we see and think about other people’s trauma.
Right, he said, as though he’d won something fair and square.