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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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I could not have composed this study of Dylan Krieger’s poetry as I have without a generous provision of access from Grinnell College to its main research hub, Burling Library, and also to Kistle Science Library. Krieger’s poetry is frequently raw, aggressive, and highly performative on its surface, but it is also heavily nuanced and indebted to the complexities of Krieger’s own education. Grinnell College was my source and refuge for researching most of those complexities, in distinct contrast to my former employer of 24 years, the University of Iowa. My thanks go out to Grinnell Professor Mark Christel, Librarian of the College, and Amy Brown, Christine P. Gaunt, Betty Santema, and Chelsea Soderblom, circulation desk supervisors, and to their staff and student workers in Burling and Kistle (although, because this book is controversial, I should emphasize that none of these Grinnellians has previously read any part of this text). Regarding the University of Iowa: apart from the late English professor Linda Bolton; professor David Wittenberg, of English, comparative literature, and cinematic arts; and sociology professor Richard Horwitz, who departed from Iowa in the late 1990s for the University of Rhode Island before semi-retirement in Denver, no one from the University of Iowa merits acknowledgment here. ← ix | x →

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The story of how I first learned of Dylan Krieger’s existence would be comical if it were not such a contemporary period piece: we met as strangers sometime in the early summer of 2016, thrown together...

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