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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wildly Impressive. But What Do I Know?
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,...
Published 6 months ago by J. Cox

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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Patricia Lockwood's Long Lines
By JACK ANDERSON
Patricia Lockwood's poems abound with long phrases, long sentences, long lines. She does go on and on. As she admits, "I talk you to death, / or else your ear off, / or else you to sleep." Gabbiness helps account for both her poetic strength and weakness. What does she talk about? Nature, mostly -- which doesn't mean cute lambs or peaceful...
Published 5 months ago by Jack Anderson


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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wildly Impressive. But What Do I Know?, June 21, 2014
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This review is from: Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals (Poets, Penguin) (Paperback)
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.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book. Now. (But in paperback.), June 3, 2014
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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.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Patricia Lockwood's Long Lines, July 3, 2014
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This review is from: Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals (Poets, Penguin) (Paperback)
By JACK ANDERSON
Patricia Lockwood's poems abound with long phrases, long sentences, long lines. She does go on and on. As she admits, "I talk you to death, / or else your ear off, / or else you to sleep." Gabbiness helps account for both her poetic strength and weakness. What does she talk about? Nature, mostly -- which doesn't mean cute lambs or peaceful meadows. For Lockwood, nature is a churning, roaring force, forever oozing, secreting, ejaculating. Sex is everywhere and almost anything can be sexual. She writes how a little boy longs to see "something / undress, even if only a lake and a sailboat." She can compare writing to urinating, and such comparisons help make her poems startling. But too many, instead of building to climaxes, just dribble along (and given Lockwood's tendency to regard all words as suggestive, that sentence can have multiple implications!), Lockwood is now most famous, even notorious, for "Rape Joke," a frank account of an assault that some people have found distasteful because rapes aren't funny. But Lockwood doesn't think so, either, as her poem makes clear in one powerful statement after another. It's the book's best poem, in part because it's so focused.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts and Ends Strong, October 6, 2014
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At times brilliant, but many times the poems left me flat.

This collection of poems starts and ends strong. The first few poems are the best. They are inventive, creative, engaging and mind-bending. Then the middle mass of poems felt plain, almost monotonous.

The final couple of poems were fantastic.

What makes these poems so good is Lockwood's ability to make connections between disparate facts, emotions, ideas and cultural touchstones. Despite the title, there is very little that is overtly sexual in these poems. Thought provoking, fresh approach, and when she is at her best, she soars.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I now read poetry., June 10, 2014
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JML816 (Dallas, TX) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals (Poets, Penguin) (Paperback)
I read about Patricia Lockwood in New York Times Magazine and promptly ordered a copy of her first book, then, because I was impatient, I bought Motherland Fatherland for Kindle. I'm in love with poetry. Or I'm in awe. These poems are amazing and amusing, sexy and deep. They're sitting in my head and slowly working their way into my days and dreams. I love "Revealing Nature Photographs," "Natural Dialogue Grows in the Woods," "The Father and Mother of American Tit-Pics." Patricia Lockwood is both an uber cool young person of our day (she drops poetry sexts on twitter), and a literary heavyweight. Look for her in marble, but I recommend checking out her book today.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, October 5, 2014
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This review is from: Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals (Poets, Penguin) (Paperback)
New book, inexpensive, fast delivery.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A poet you should read (even if you don't "like" poetry, June 13, 2014
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D.S. Cahr (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
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Lockwood is the second coming of Margaret Atwood as a poet, except with a crazed use of nearly pornographic imagery and a torrent of words. She is justly famous for her poem "Rape Joke," which is just unbelievably powerful, but her twists of language and meter are worth the price of admission, too. Wow.
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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing book, June 30, 2014
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This review is from: Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals (Poets, Penguin) (Paperback)
Lockwood writes like someone who's trying to write poetry. She writes for other poets, not for otherwise intelligent, educated people. She hides. She's clever, yes. But being clever is not what some of us come to poetry for. In the end, her poetry did not move me at all. To be honest, I read maybe half the book, including "Rape Joke," which the Times lauded, and couldn't give it any more of my time.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ebullient Means Full of You Know Stuff, August 27, 2014
I am going to buy this book, or maybe I will just review the book. I think the internet is for adults. The cover of the book is creepy. Some of Lockwood's tweets are funny, mainly the ones about drug use. I think profound ignominy is sold not purchased. Not so I am saying anything with abject wherewithal. Humour is like finding not everything funny. The grass and soldiers in the desert. Such soft skin grass is. Only sand where we send. The guy whom changes my oil seppukued his person just as I quit driving. No so what matters to him. Have you heard the joke about Truman, Lincoln and the week old bologna sandwich. In a round about way the narrative is about meeting in Heaven, fate, our civil war, nuclear bombs, fidelity and being a sandwich. Yup this is what the internet is all about.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, August 25, 2014
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This review is from: Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals (Poets, Penguin) (Paperback)
very interesting poems, unusual word-smithing and story lines.
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Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals (Poets, Penguin)
Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals (Poets, Penguin) by Patricia Lockwood (Paperback - May 27, 2014)
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