Our Lady of Perpetual Degeneracy
Author: Robin Gow
Publisher: Tolsun Books (2020)
Our Lady of Perpetual Degeneracy asserts the possibilities for queer/trans sexualities and genders in Catholic saints. These speakers navigate a world of mingling divine and mundane as saints leave their lives in heaven behind and haunt an earthly narrator. Saints act here as figures between human and supernatural––bringing into question other binaries and structures like gender, memory, and family. The collection searches for a new kind of communion of saints and a new, often erotic and sometimes tender, kind of prayer.
"Robin Gow's first full-length collection is full of verve, sass, mystery, and wonder. In Our Lady of Perpetual Degeneracy, Gow has made a family of queer angels and reclaimed saints in poems that are as finely crafted as they are magical and sincere. 'There were no holy orders for women / or queers, so we made Poems, thrived hidden.' Indeed we did and Gow's book is proof of the thriving. Thank the Holy Queer Mystery for these poems (and for all of our queer and trans lives)––like 'hammers in / the flower vases. they bloom.'"
"Robin Gow's brilliant poems navigate the liminal world between religious figures and what remains to be figured out, between the real and the sexual and the realignment of expectations. An outspoken curator of sound and meaning, Gow is an accomplished spinner of metaphor, of emphasis, of surprise. Our Lady of Perpetual Degeneracy is the debut full collection from a visionary poet who wields craft with surgical precision, and leaves all of us questioning what we know, and what we recalled we once believed."
–Jacqueline Jones LaMon