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Kendra DeColo - My Dinner With Ron Jeremy

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"My Dinner with Ron Jeremy is engaged in perpetual conversation with music and the refuge of fandom. It's a coming-of-age book as well as a book about motherhood; a bridge of recovery and reckoning connecting the themes. . . .The book is a mix-tape I made for my 14 year-old self, proof that she would grow up to be someone who doesn't apologize for who she is, especially her love of pop music."—Kendra DeColo


"Sex-positive feminist verse... DeColo manages to coax beauty and meaning from the absurd aching morass of human existence. It’s not every writer who can emerge from these corners with anything approaching grace, much less deft and bracing poems such as these."—The Nashville Scene


"[DeColo's] work is ferocious and tender, demolishing patriarchal language and using the fragments to build riotous new worlds."—Bitch Magazine


An essay at VIDA:Women in Literary Arts

“...my book is neither pro- nor anti- pornography. Rather, it uses pornography as a starting point to talk about sexuality, agency, and identity; the poems about pornography set adjacent to poems about motherhood, coming of age, and politics.” —Kendra DeColo


"The poems in Kendra DeColo’s extraordinary second collection, My Dinner With Ron Jeremy, live in the sinuous space between want and propriety, fantasy and the “Must Be 18” button on the poetry portal. Here, desire dictates every fetish and gesture, the uncomfortable performances we give to convince ourselves in bedrooms, drug stores, on webcam, or on the subway, ukulele in hand. There’s love here, too, and John Coltrane, and abandonment in all its necessary circumstances, but sex is both brilliant talisman and vacant harbinger through it all. This often humorous, always provocative book puts a neon backlight on the filaments between what we have, what we have to do, and what we wish we could do, whether we can rewind and watch it again or not. "—Adrian Matejka, Author of The Big Smoke, a 2014 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

"Marvelous poetry … poems that would make great feature films, but I wouldn’t say it was Shakespeare; it’s not iambic pentameter. Iambic pentameter, look that up.’” —Ron Jeremy

Described by some as “erotica for feminists,” and “enemy to family values” DeColo’s poems in My Dinner With Ron Jeremy convulse with desire and a longing for connection. Her work speaks to the particular loneliness of watching Fox news after you’ve masturbated too many times, depleted and filled with fascination and terror. Balancing tenderness with ferocity, cynicism with wonder, DeColo’s poems disrupt and reclaim misogynistic language, creating a lyricism that dazzles and swoons, hoping to leave a stain deep enough to last.

“I wrote this book during my pregnancy, while watching the Republican nomination unfold. I wrote it for my 14 year-old self, smoking parliaments and reading Anais Nin on the floor at a Violent Femmes show. I wrote it for the 27 year old me who got sober. Most of all I wrote it to combat the reductionist and nihilist vision of certain politicians that seeks to numb and disempower us through the corruption of language. I hope that my poems go out into the world swinging both fists, ready to take on this demagoguery and twist it into something profane and beautiful.” —Kendra DeColo

. . . Love, we are ancient
as the first people who learned to screw standing up

against a pine tree. Only your murmurs can staunch
the fissures inside me. Touch me like an assassin

strokes the steps of a church. Say my name
until I glow, engorged and radiant

as a tick boasting her blood-swollen
hunger without shame.

— excerpted from "Dirty Talk"

AUTHOR BIO:
Kendra DeColo’s first collection Thieves in the Afterlife (Saturnalia Books, 2014) was selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the 2013 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize and named “Favorite Nashville Poetry Book of 2014” by the Nashville Scene. Her poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Copper Nickel, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She has received awards and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Millay Colony, and the Tennessee Arts Commission. She is book editor at Muzzle Magazine and guest teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.