Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals

Patricia Lockwood. Penguin, $20 trade paper (68p) ISBN 978-0-14-312652-2
With her second collection, Lockwood (Balloon Pop Outlaw Black) continues to develop a poetics that interrogates those categories to which societies pledge allegiance: nation, gender, nature, and sexuality. Nothing is off limits here and often the poems’ responses to their subjects—whether natural, political, or epistemological—are a fumbling, projective sexual ecstasy: “Your sight and your hearing increase, like wheat/ and the wind in the wheat..../ Blue sky increases above the wheat/ and you know what it’s like to grow a... well.” At home where the startling is status quo, Lockwood’s provocative “Rape Joke” sees itself plain: “The rape joke is if you write a poem called Rape Joke, you’re asking for it to become the only thing people remember about you.” Fiercely smart and aching with imagination, she addresses what it means to be “a series of places where animal parts could emerge,” yet remains able to wonder “how can there be enough room in America to make what makes it up.” Lockwood’s poems register the full force of what they deliver and yet admirably refuse to see that as a reason to back away: “The gulf between a word and what it represents is still so great, but a shocking reflection of perfect tits floats and will always float there.” (June)
Reviewed on: 04/28/2014
Release date: 05/27/2014
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