Feminism, sex and metaphor collide and coexist.
Nanaimo, BC (CUP) — There’s a good reason Patricia Lockwood has been hailed as Poet Laureate of the Internet. “Rape Joke,” the prose poem that shot her to fame, is a powerful mix of personal and political, and her tweets regularly blur a surrealist poetic bent together with conversational language and contemporary attention to trend-savvy topics.
Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals is Lockwood’s second and most recent full length collection. Metaphor is an important topic in this collection; aside from the titular gender- pronounification of the notion of country and belonging, almost every poem in Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals feels like Lockwood is completing a tribute to the metaphysical poets, as each poem visibly carries the conceit of its metaphor. Poems like “The Whole World Gets Together and Gangbangs a Deer” are a thinly-veiled critique of the pornography industry, and maybe the act of desire in the first place.
“The Feeling of Needing a Pen” takes the urge to create, and drives it like a nail into a board covered in analogous descriptions: “like a urine but even more gold/… that spot on a dog that causes its leg to kick.” “The Descent of the Dunk” details the tribulations of a young girl growing up to the resounding slam of a ball through a hoop, wrapping up the conquest of women’s rights and identity as a woman into a neat, sports-themed package, and delivering it with a mimicking impact right at the moment of triumph.
It is important to note that Lockwood is a cut-from- the-cloth feminist. Gender identity drips from her poetry, and imbues much of it with an innate power. At one point, Lockwood swaps the genders of two of America’s most notable poets, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, then barrages the reader with fantasies about their various gender-identifying features. Pieces of anatomy at times serve as stand-ins for conceits like poetic ability, public acclaim, and other, more elusive subjects. As Lockwood reminds us in the middle of the collection, “What I am TRYING to say is that metaphors are dangerous!” By that logic, perhaps this book is a bomb of metonymy, and we’re meant to let it explode in our hands, one piece at a time.
Read the full review at www.thenav.ca.