Buy “Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals (Penguin Poets) Patricia Lockwood 9780143126522 Books” Online
Poetry-wise, I am lost. Sometimes I still try to read it, but usually give up after the first few lines. I’m not the only one, I’m sure. Once upon a time in Ohio — this is true — I sat on the floor in a student-jammed room just a few arms’ lengths from Allen Ginsberg. And nothing he said connected with me. Nothing. My major take-away was that Mr. Ginsburg, before he sat down, unbuckled his belt, unbuttoned his jeans, and unzipped his fly. Was he symbolically getting naked in front of the crowd or were his jeans too tight? I don’t know! But I’m sitting in the midst of all this High Literary Seriousness not getting it, feeling irrelevant, looking at Ginsberg’s belt buckle flopped over and hanging in space. That pretty well summarizes my experience with poetry. Patricia Lockwood, however, is the exception. I never read the NY Times anymore, but I did on that Sunday when Lichtenstein’s piece on her appeared. She seemed to be a very intriguing person. Her whole family, her dad the priest, the sight-impaired husband who champions her, her brother the Marine, the mom who sticks up for her — intriguing people, and a real family from what I could discern. So I bought her book, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals. And guess what: there is still a lot I don’t understand. But I am here to tell you that the woman truly has it. Don’t know exactly what ‘it’ is, don’t know what to call it, but she’s got it big time. Her writing shape-shifts. The inanimate comes alive and speaks. Land becomes personified and sexual. I often had to wonder, who or what is saying this? A lot of images and phrases re-appear from poem to poem. "Between two legs. " Hawks. Fire and burning. An igniting match becomes the eye seeing the flame or vice versa. Geography (!) is a recurring theme. Gender crosses back and forth. Roundness and round objects — her mouth, the earth, a round lens, the moon, ball dunking — keep showing up. Innocence ruined, trust betrayed. Vitality. It’s all connected. Rape Joke, probably her best known poem, has hard narrative power. Nothing funny about it, but plenty of irony. Rape Joke is lava that has skinned over and turned cool on the outside but is still molten inside. In the one before it, Why Haven’t You Written, the last lines hit me with a silent thud, because I know I’ve been there. Assuming I got it right. Not sure if I got any of this right. Anyway, this is getting too long, but I just want to say her work is worth it. The reviewer here who said that her work is "butterflies flying" compared to butterflies pinned? That’s a good way of putting it. What I would really like to read are the one or more novels she wrote that never got published, the ones she left in the woods, bear-like. Wish she would dig those up, go indie, just as is, like now. Go the New York route, it’ll take forever (and they way they’ve handled inventory of her books don’t get me started). Right now, she’s got 30k Twitter followers, according to the Times piece. Wow. For a poet to do that — a poet living in Kansas! — is wildly impressive. Check it out!
Review “Her lines feel fresh but footed, with the studious curiosity of Marianne Moore. Lockwood doesn’t so much turn the tables as flip the whole house upside down.” – Michael Andor Broduer, The Boston Globe”Wildly original poems: obscene, sharp, and funny. The whole collection is unforgettable, literally: once read, it cannot be forgotten.” — NPR”Most of her best lines are wildly unprintable here. … The little hairs on my back rose often while reading Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, as if it were the year of the big wind. That’s biological praise, the most fundamental kind, impossible to fake.” — Dwight Garner, The New York Times”Lockwood has written a book at once angrier, and more fun, more attuned to our time and more bizarre, than most poetry can ever get.” — Stephen Burt, The New York Times Book Review”For the nimble, the skeptical, and the restless, writing like this represents a way to be in a country whose failures seem to them as much aesthetic as they are ethical. Lockwood’s poems are less a critique of that culture than an alternative opened up sideways to it.” – Jonathan Farmer, Slate
Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals (Penguin Poets) Paperback – May 27, 2014 by Patricia Lockwood (Author) Review
I’ve read the reviews of “Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals” (the highest-profile all written by men so far, as writer Mallory Ortberg points out), and maybe because Patricia Lockwood’s poetry instantly took up so much space in my head I was stunned to see that there are none as yet on Amazon. This collection is to modern poetry as a butterfly flying is to a butterfly pinned. I found Lockwood’s work online while reading the Oxford and Library of America poetry anthologies (in the Oxford, as an aside, the youngest poets were born in 1950), and her work is so vivid and clear-voiced that it makes most of those thousands of poems seem dead as dirt. (Or, you know, that pinned dead butterfly. )Most of Lockwood’s poetry seems excavated (by “a pickaxe a passion and a patience,” which to my mind works just as well to describe her creative process as it works to describe a [soft-tissue] fossil excavation in one of the book’s early poems). The shape of it has been there underfoot, we’ve been stepping all over it, but Lockwood was the expert to uncover its shape. In this collection I had expected, from what the reviews emphasized, to find self-consciously naughty poems; I was so pleasantly surprised to find much more. A few standouts are “Factories Are Everywhere in Poetry Right Now,” with its killer last line; “Love Poem Like We Used to Write It (the breakdown of “small brown paw”); “Natural Dialogue Grows in the Woods,” (everything leading up to the lovely “Probably, probably/With the probly and the prolly and the loblolly pines”); “And I thought, ‘This is not something Emily Dickinson would have done. Or is it'” (and many other lines from that poem); “The Fake Tears of Shirley Temple” (“plump even at her corners/like a bag of goldfish”); and “When the World Was Ten Years Old He Fell Deep in Love with Egypt,” just beautiful/compelling as a whole. My introduction to Lockwood was “Rape Joke,” and although that poem (the most widely read poem in how long?) is powerful and brilliantly composed, there is so much more to love in this collection. One poem should never be the only one people remember. I doubt that will be a problem with Lockwood’s work, although I hope to check back in a hundred years. Five stars for the work, but I don’t recommend buying the Kindle version. I’ll be returning mine and getting the paperback. The spacing is off (and changes with the vertical/horizontal shift), and Lockwood is so deliberate, so dead-on with her half-pauses and breaks, that it’s a waste to read it like this. Support American poetry, and the potential for greatness that Lockwood’s work recalls. Buy this book. (In paperback. )EDIT: FWIW, I attended a college known for poetry, where I was able to study with one of the best (and most likable) poets practicing today. Lockwood’s work is unprecedentedly bright and inspiring, and it makes me want to be a better writer (and to read better writers). Her voice wakes readers up. “Where would I be if I were what I wanted?” — I hope Lockwood would say, exactly where she is. -Read Reviews-
Unique and inspirational. I appreciate the creativity!
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