Arielle Greenberg’s I Live in the Country & other dirty poems exploits and undoes the stereotype of the “wholesome country life.” Here, the speaker moves to the country (“where the animals are”) in order to live a whole life, one in which she can live honestly and openly in a non-monogamous marriage. Her book is a visceral, erotic celebration of the cornucopia of sexual pleasures to be had in that rural life—in the muck of a pasture in spring or behind the bins of whole-wheat pastry flour at the local Co-op. Greenberg hauls out what has previously been stored under dark counters and labeled deviant—kink, fetish, and bondage— and moves it into the sunshine of sex-positivity and mutual consent. In doing so, she forges new literary territory—a feminist re-visioning of the Romantic pastoral poems of seduction. “I am trying to turn my eye toward joy,” she writes. “My heart toward bliss.”
from “in the pines”
In order to have the sex I wanted
I had to leave the city
& go to the country
where the animals are
I took off all my clothes at the trailhead
and walked through the woods
like some video for an Icelandic rock song
I had to be made of the ice breaking up in the creek
I had to be in the pines
I had to go over the falls again
… I was wooed on nearly every page. … so damn readable, it could have been a Buzzfeed listicle…
… Greenberg has birthed an intimate and embodied experience of textual ecstasy that oozes with desire, pleasure and bodily fluids. Her ecosexual play will leave you filthy in the purest and most ecstatic way possible.
… Smashing not only the patriarchy, but all concepts of what it means to be a ‘good’ smart feminist, I Live in the Country & other dirty poems is essential reading for anyone with a body.