Like no other poetic text I know, Proud Flesh captures the extent to which romantic love plays itself out through a creaking and leaky labyrinth of plumbing through which flow blood, mucus, sperm, and whatever evanescent chemicals lubricate the brain's CPU and its nervous peripherals:
Proud Flesh is a series of love poems and a clinical examination: Wilkinson does not hesitate to deploy the jawbreaking vocabulary of medical diagnosis, and at points his exploration of loves body becomes as savagely indignant as Swift's or Rochester's.
This, the first poem of Proud Flesh, invites us to read the entire collection as a history of the subject's initiation into society.
Where Proud Flesh focused upon the damage inflicted by love, desire, and the regimes of human coupling, Lake Shore Drive is obsessed with the whole bloody mess of contemporary culture, from the intractable, agonizing violence of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict:
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