A startling debut volume, the latest in Chris Abani's Black Goat poetry series. Kate Durbin's debut volume is not for the weak of gut. Cum, blood, vomit, and other bodily juices slop off the page in a grotesque reanimation of history and art's female villains and s/heroes. Unlike other feminist revisionist texts, The Ravenous Audience refuses to rescue the ",misunderstood", bitches of our cultural past, instead viscerally imposing the scope of their bodily and existential horrors-including each woman's culpability. Durbin even throws the reader, and the poet, into the cauldron. Complicating all easy notions of responsibility, she points the finger in every direction possible-before biting it clean off! Intent on upsetting the reader and herself, Durbin mixes modes, sometimes within one poem. An interview with Marilyn Monroe becomes a twisted ",off the record", interaction between the starlet and the poet (or is it the reader?), a silent film starring Clara Bow goes awry, transforming an auditorium of rapt moviegoers into a sea of drowned animal heads. With raw, disquieting images that evoke Sylvia Plath's, and characters and situations as varied and bizarre as Edgar Degas' ballerinas fornicating with statues of women, Pier Pasolini's polyester-wearing Jesus (or is it Lucifer?) seducing a family of church-goers, and a Hansel-hungry Gretel, Durbin has robbed from the great filmmakers, artists, folktales, and biblical myths to fashion her own series of disturbed, mixed-up worlds. Each unfolds unto more treacherous insights and inquisitions: realms where only the ravenous dare open their mouths.
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