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Obscenity and Disruption in the Poetry of Dylan Krieger

Thomas Simmons

Obscenity and Disruption in the Poetry of Dylan Krieger is the first full-length study of the radical poetry of Baton Rouge-based poet Dylan Krieger. Wickedly smart, iconoclastic, daring in their critiques of religion and contemporary culture, Krieger’s poems rank with Allen Ginsberg’s and Adrienne Rich’s as the most provocative and avant-garde of any recent generation. With its debt to third-wave feminism and the "Gurlesque," Krieger’s work nevertheless moves outward and backward across the landmines of sexual precocity and religious fundamentalism and across the entire western project of epistemology as Krieger came to understand it at the University of Notre Dame. Though this book necessarily stays close to Krieger’s specific poems, it follows her lead in stretching her cultural, sexual, and religious furies to their apotheosis in a manifesto of liberation.

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Chapter 6. No Ledge Left to Love: The Broken Body on an Astral Scale


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The Broken Body on an Astral Scale

No Ledge Left to Love can be understood in two antithetical ways. On the one hand it has a retrospective wistfulness: the narrator at some point had one or more ledges to love, but they are gone now. A ledge is not a place to love for innocuous reasons, although one might argue that the view is spectacular. A ledge is a place from which to depart—to leap. The problems inherent in human acts of knowing, including the knowing of a self, might at certain moments in the past have become overwhelming—as we saw in the previous chapter—and the narrator confronted what might have seemed the blessed relief of suicide. Even now—in the “now” implicit in the title—if there were only one more ledge, perhaps that would be the one.

On the other hand, No Ledge Left to Love can be understood as resigned resolution. Having moved in a transhistorical manner across western philosophy—with an emphasis on “identity/free will,” “knowledge/perception,” and “ethics”1—this narrator has come to terms with the limits and perspectives of her own philosophical resources. The 60 poems in No Ledge Left to Love are as a whole far closer to John Donne’s final sermon, “Death’s Duel,” before King Charles I at Whitehall on February 25, 1631 than they are to Boethius’ The Consolations of Philosophy,...

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