Tender and brutal, seductive and repulsive, Meat Lovers introduces a compelling new mode of hardcore pastoral.
I am trying to go vegetarian but finding myself weak,
week to week browsing the meat aisle at a linger
close enough to chill my arms to gooseflesh. I only buy
stuff so processed it hardly makes sense to call it meat.
Saveloy, nugget, continental frankfurter;
whatever gets extruded pink beyond possible memory
of the preceding body.
— ‘The Flexitarian’
In this dazzling first collection, acclaimed Wellington poet and Canterbury farm-girl Rebecca Hawkes takes a generous bite from the excesses of earthly flesh – first ‘Meat’, then ‘Lovers’.
‘Meat’ is a coming of age in which pony clubs, orphaned lambs and dairy-shed delirium are infused with playful menace and queer longings. Between bottle-fed care and killing-shed floors, the farm is a heady setting for love and death.
In ‘Lovers’, the poet casts a wry eye over romance, from youthful sapphic infatuation to seething beastliness. Sentimental intensity is anchored by an introspective comic streak, in which ‘the stars are watching us / and boy howdy are they judgemental’.
This collection of queasy hungers offers a feast of explosive mince & cheese pies, accusatory crackling, lab-grown meat and beetroot tempeh burger patties, all washed down with bloody milk or apple-mush moonshine. It teems with sensuous life, from domesticated beasts to the undulating mysteries of eels, as Hawkes explores uneasy relationships with our animals and with each other.
Source: Auckland University Press