Savage Pageant

Savage Pageant

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Author: Jessica Q. Stark

Publisher: Birds, LLC. (2020)

Savage Pageant recounts the history of the defunct zoo, Jungleland, which housed Hollywood's show animals up until its closure in 1969. In it, Stark explores the concept of US American spectacle and its historic ties to celebrity culture, the maternal body, racist taxonomies, the mistreatment of animals, and ecological violence. With a hybrid, documentary poetics, Savage Pageant reveals how we attempt to narrate and control geographical space and how ghosts (remainders, the sketch, unfinished stories) collapse the tidy corners of our collective, accumulative histories.

"Jessica Stark's Savage Pageant is a map, an 'undulation,'  a 'fold,' something lightly sketched then traced on 'something blackened, worn-out, and organized.' Stark's brilliant move in this powerful new work is to problematize the paper itself: the surfaces that receive the many marks that a poet, an inhabitant, an animal, an archivist or an audience-member might make. What a brilliant writer. What a lovely and strange book."

–Bhanu Kapil

"The body of poetry needs a new script, and Jessica Q. Stark is more than happy to oblige. At the height of her multi-tasking, birthing simultaneously son and book, she holds you captive with her carnival performance of ingenious gestures, where language and motherhood play informal games of anatomic brilliance and take you through her sanitary mayhem of pandemoniac beauty and birth."

–Vi Khi Nao