Kendra DeColo reaffirms the action of mothering as heroic, brutal, and hardcore. These poems interrogate patriarchal narratives about childbirth, postpartum healing, and motherhood through the lens of pop culture and the political zeitgeist. With references ranging from Courtney Love to Lana Del Rey to Richard Burton to Nicholas Cage, I Am Not Trying to Hide My Hungers from the World revitalizes the way we look at mothering: pushing its boundaries and reclaiming one's spirit of defiance, abundance, and irreverent joy.
1. Take long walks, gray hairs frizzled in the humidity, baby sleeping on your chest. 2. Nod as if listening to music. 3. Record the sound of falling chestnuts, the neighbor’s Shih Tzus rushing the fence. 4. Pretend you’re going somewhere important. 5. Tune out. 6. Let yourself look like a mess. 7. Ignore the neighbor. 8. Hold your own hand like you held your friend’s hair while she puked up strawberries in your dorm bathroom, the tiles stained pink for weeks. 9. Remember the smell of your sister’s wine vomit in the back of your Honda. You had a job interview the next day and got it even though you didn’t want it. 10. Get hungry, get angry, feel like you’re cornered and your cut man has disappeared. 11. Do not nap. 12. Send angry emails. 13. Tend to your jealousies like a mother of dragons. They will protect you when you need them. 14. Be righteous, be self-aggrandizing. 15. Write the worst poem in the world. 16. Show up even though you don’t know what to say. 17. Watch television when you want to write. Write when you want to watch television. 18. Make messes. 19. Bake. 20. Listen to Ani DiFranco on the scratchy CD you played the summer you lived alone in Provincetown and drove to the sunset every night. Remember the canopy of trees, sand in the road, people on bicycles with picnic baskets strapped to their backs. 21. Remember how it felt to be at the beginning, alone, your desires almost unbearable, how you kept trying to contain them, and they kept showing you where you needed to go.
“I have always loved Kendra DeColo’s poems, so it’s no surprise that I love this new book, I Am Not Trying to Hide My Hungers From the World. But I love it so much. DeColo somehow manages to write poems that are equal parts swagger and soft, equal parts holler and prayer. Poems that are irreverent and dead serious, playful and pained, built of precise and impeccable and raucous music. Poems wonderful and strange and luminous, as is everything when you look, when you feel, as hard, and beautifully, as DeColo does.”
—Ross Gay, author of The Book of Delights: Essays
“The great magic of Kendra DeColo's poems has always felt, to me, like she knows something you also know, even if you don't know that you know it. Not just a movie, but a specific moment from a movie. A commercial you might not remember. Each of her poems reveals something about how one memory can become shared. Through joy, through terror, through rage. There is a generosity that flows through this book, not just in the intimate poems about giving life and then caring for a life, but also the poems that slowly, gently circle food courts, or open with off-brand granola bars. This book and these poems are a true testament to how intimacy and generosity can take as many forms as a writer needs you to see them in.”
—Hanif Abdurraqib, author of A Fortune for Your Disaster
“This collection of glorious, powerful, dare I say iconic poems blew through me like strong weather. I felt electric, inspired and understood. Kendra DeColo writes about the body, motherhood and desire as sites for intense transformation, and having read them, I feel transformed.”
—Michelle Tea, author of Against Memoir
“I find Kendra DeColo’s poems almost unbelievably good. Shockingly good. So of the moment, so funny and yet so terrifyingly, intensely beautiful. I know most wouldn’t find it at all unusual to have those things at once, so my response to them is perhaps more of a statement of my own positionality. Still, in a weird world turned upside down, poems like “I Would Like to Tell the President to Eat a Dick in a Non-Homophobic Way” and “I am thinking about the movie Con Air” feed me with their humor, whimsy, and pathos.”
—Kazim Ali, author of The Oasis of Now