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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 7. The Ethical Imperative of The Mother Wart


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The table of contents of The Mother Wart, with its four thematic sections—“Mouth East,” “Bastard Astronauts,” “The Long Pig Lives,” and “Born for Formication”—marks a structural shift away from No Ledge Left to Love back to the earlier two collections. In that sense, the meta-poem exploration in No Ledge Left to Love seems largely if not entirely uninvited in the new book.1 Though, far from ignoring the potential shock value of Krieger’s titles, particularly Giving Godhead, I have tried to suggest how appropriate each title is, The Mother Wart as a title seems comparatively innocuous, as if one were beginning a Brothers Grimm fairytale collection. On the second page, however, you come across this stark epigraph:

The Church of Euthanasia has only one commandment: “Thou shalt not procreate.” It also has four “pillars” or principles: sodomy, abortion, cannibalism, and suicide.2

It’s not difficult to imagine how readers who may have rolled their eyes at the title Giving Godhead might simply throw up their hands at this point. “The Church of Euthanasia”? “Sodomy, abortion, cannibalism, and suicide”? And those quotations, here, in the first paragraph of a chapter called “The Ethical Imperative of The Mother Wart”? However: if I were to say that Giving Godhead is the most aggressive of the four books, dreamland trash the most darkly lush, ← 185 | 186 → and No Ledge Left to Love the most winningly...

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