My Dinner with Ron Jeremy
Third man books 2016
“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
"Kendra DeColo’s potent new collection sits at the intersection of who we’ve been and who we might become, with a speaker who is 'trying to remember the last time / she pursued anything with equal parts curiosity / and hunger. Or was it cruelty. Or was it delight.' How does any of us step away from the obsessions of the narratives we’ve worked so hard to create, and not transform, but instead relinquish ourselves to the truth of who we are, replete with dualities and crimes, and, most of all, a forgiveness of the self that we so often withhold? More than anything, DeColo's fearless new poems grapple with the complicated here and now, full of, as she writes, 'a tenderness that wrecks me.’” —Keetje Kuipers
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
"I love Kendra DeColo’s fearless sensuality and her gritty, luscious vernacular. With her second collection, the poet smashes America’s rampant male fantasy and shows us instead how an intimate, raw, intelligent poem can be a guidepost to some of our deepest and most powerful delights. Seriously, spend whole evenings with this fabulous book… then do it again.” - Patrick Rosal, Author of Brooklyn Antediluvian
Thieves in the Afterlife
"The brilliant Thieves in the Afterlife evokes philosopher Alain Badiou's observation that "Love is a tenacious adventure." Kendra DeColo's tenacity is shaped by the urgent honesty of "a love song played on a half-strung guitar." Her sense of adventure finds "the story of our naked life" in prisons, red light districts and the wounded embrace of loved ones and lovers. Few poets since the late Lynda Hull have displayed a lyricism so simultaneously lush and visceral. This truly extraordinary debut possesses a toughness that unmasks our vulnerability, "a tenderness that betrays our hunger."
- Terrance Hayes
"Thieves in the Afterlife contains multitudes--whether it articulates the beauty present in a bowlful of avocados, list of re-named cemetery dead, a barnacle's salt-crusted gleam, or one of its hundred other signs and wonders. DeColo's lyricism is tough, tempered, and never--not even for a line or stanza--tone-dead. She sings a song of her making in a room of her own creation. Listen and believe it."
"Kendra DeColo's Thieves in the Afterlife is gutsy and urgent. An ensemble of calls and responses half-hidden in a fabric of music and gesture, in a language of now, seems at times culled from an oral tradition that is political and tonal. Hers is a hardcore reckoning."
- Yusef Komunyakaa