Patricia Lockwood goes beyond "Rape Joke" in new collection
Lockwood's Twitter rep went sky-high when "Rape Joke" went viral. Now, she's back and artfully brutal as ever.
Photo credit: Yulia Popkova/Vetta
Where to start? I could say Patricia Lockwood is a comedic goddess. I could talk about her "sext" campaign on Twitter or the time she raised $10,000 in less than a day to pay her husband's medical bills. The Atlantic Wire put Lockwood on the list of "Best Tweets of All Time." Twice.
And because that's not enough, she writes poetry, too.
Her second collection, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, is already being called one of Publishers Weekly's most anticipated books of 2014. I'm not a poet. I don't usually like poetry, and yet, I highly recommend Patricia Lockwood.
Sometimes, I fear poetry has become too serious, too highbrow. Mere humans cannot be expected to understand the cerebral inner workings of Poets.
Lockwood isn't like that. Her poetry reads like her tweets. For instance, via Twitter: "I am a Dan Brown novel and you do me in my plot-hole. 'Wow,' I yell in ecstasy, 'This makes no sense at all.'"
Then, look to MFH and find gems like, "The rape joke is that his bookshelf was just a row of paperbacks about serial killers." Obviously, this line is taken from her most famous poem, "Rape Joke," originally published in 2013 by The Awl.
Although "Rape Joke" is brutally brilliant — and yes, sickly funny — Lockwood is more than this viral sensation.
Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals bridges nature and the modern world. Her imagery is visceral. She opens the door to her dark places, and you have no choice but to walk inside. She's humorous, kind of. It's the sort of humor you laugh at and then feel bad about — because it's true but you don't want to admit it.
There's the one about the androgyny of men at war, how pain and fear bridges gender boundaries and makes tough guys into a bunch of little girls. Or the poem about penis envy and men's freedom to pee in public. The Loch Ness monster has a monologue, and there's even a pornographic trip to the forest.
Lockwood's poems make you go "ha," then "oh," then... "ouch." She hides truth behind images and metaphor, but the truth will out. It always does.
Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals is a poetry collection, but it's for both poetry enthusiasts and novices alike. Lockwood is attainable, relatable. She's brash; she's scary. Her words continue the life of a quiet genre many of us left behind after college. Bless her for reminding me poetry isn't just words on a page; poetry deciphers the world's confusion.