Haters have ascribed Patricia Lockwood’s gonzo poetics, especially in her recent and daring second collection, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals (Penguin 2014), to the Like This/Love Me social structure of the Twitter Age, in which the outrageous and clickbait-y have replaced aesthetic subtlety. But these readers miss the marvelous weirdness of Lockwood’s project, which rewrites nature poetry as outlandish, out-sized sexual fantasy and which uses these often funny, just-as-often troubling fables to interrogate gender and other categories of power. In its best moments, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexual recalls Donald Barthelme’s claim that our best writing aspires to be “a strange object covered with fur which breaks your heart,” as in Lockwood’s now famous “Rape Joke” and “Nessie Wants to Watch Herself Doing It.”
Patricia Lockwood, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals. Published by Penguin (2014). 80 pages.