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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals (Penguin Poets)
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on June 21, 2014
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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on June 20, 2017
I wish I knew how to unhinge my mind like Lockwood to free it from literal, confining prose-thinking. Her poetry steps into a temple of sorts, a special place of worship for the imagination. Her poems are like Kandinsky's paintings: a lot of non-sense is going on and on the surface it looks like a mass of confusion and can of worms jerked open by a predator but you don't care because you've having such a good time watching the show from the sidelines, where some character from Twin Peaks is giving you a buzz cut. (Not to say her stuff is surreal.) She takes personification to the extreme; for example she personifies "The Dunk" and gives him/her a rich, full life. Soon, you expect The Dunk to get married, buy a house, and produce little baby Durants. You wonder if she smokes crack or nutmeg, something healthy I'm sure, to escape the rational, lineal mind. And like a Kandinsky painting, somehow it resolves into wholesome goodness. Nobody writes like her. With time, I wonder if she'll mellow into a Joseph Ceravolo. Agree/Disagree? Write me at prguyvic@gmail.com. Love notes only, please.
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on February 3, 2018
I enjoyed this collection of poems - more so, even, than "Balloon Pop Outlaw Black": the more focused writing-style in this collection appealed to me. Interspersed with Lockwood's wonderful abstract imagery, I enjoyed the contrast between the playful and the dark on the subject of bodies and borders. Though some reviews complain of the sexually-exlipicit and raunchiness in the poems: I love it, and I think Lockwood really handles the content well. Particular standouts: "List of Cross-Dressing Soldiers," "Rape Joke," "The Father and Mother of American Tit-Pics," "The Hypno-Domme Speaks, and Speaks and Speaks," "Revealing Nature Photographs," "The Fake Tears of Shirley Temple," "Nessie Wants to Watch Herself Doing It," "Is Your Country a He or a She in Your Mouth," "The Whole World Gets Together and Gangbangs a Deer," and "He Marries the Stuffed-Owl Exhibit at the Indiana Welcome Center."
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on September 11, 2017
this is an exciting read! Beautiful and strange and perspective shifting
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on March 25, 2016
Unique and inspirational. I appreciate the creativity!
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on January 6, 2015
I wish I admired Lockwood's collection, I really do. There are some poems that come close to successful, and one ("The Rape Joke") which really hits home. Too many poems seem please with little dirty jokes or attempts at humor. "List of Cross-Dressing Soldiers" "The Fake Tears of Shirley Temple" and "The Descent of the Dunk" all come close. Too often I feel that what strives to be free and experimental is just undisciplined and needing rewriting.

The main conceit that nations and landscapes are treated as if human bodies and beings, and vice verse, just doesn't work here for me.

Perhaps it is just me. But I really wanted to admire this collection. But as Lockwood might write, "Naaaaaaah."
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on February 17, 2015
I've heard of the hype for Patricia Lockwood and was expecting something far more daring and subversive. It wasn't quite that, but still a very apt and thoughtful book of poems. Definitely a wonderful read. But if you get here because the hype told you that this book is breaking all boundaries, then, I must say that's not quite the case.
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on September 28, 2017
Poetry ... ??
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on May 5, 2015
Great book of poetry. It is edgy and slightly shocking at times, but that just adds to it.
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on October 6, 2014
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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