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This review is taken from PN Review 214, Volume 40 Number 2, November - December 2013.

Making and Erasing amy sara carroll, Fannie + Freddie: The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography (Fordham University Press) US$19 (pb), US$45 (hb)

Discussing pornography, Vladimir Nabokov observes 'the copulation of clichés'; for a pornographic work to satisfy the consumer's 'tepid lust', passages between sex scenes 'must be reduced to sutures of sense, logical bridges of the simplest design, brief expositions and explanations'. Amy Sara Carroll's Fannie + Freddie - a sequence of versified language-games, photographs, haiku, body art, found poems, palimpsests, a black page and a heap of prose - resists the pornography of sentimentality by refusing simple designs, and by attacking cliché (to fall back on a cliché) head-on.

Many will need convincing: much of the book deals with pregnancy, birth and babies, which is rarely promising, and the vast amount of struck-through text enacting artistic, psychological and political revision (apparently even the book's title would have been a deletion but for problems with cataloguing) risks coming across as self-important gimmickry. Both form and content might seem to prioritise the book's origins over its actions. The pregnancy, however, while not unsentimentally depicted, is examined in the context of broader social concerns: the world the child enters is not quite the glorious 'inestimable // realm' of Paul Muldoon's 'The Birth', being just as linguistically afire but viewed with a sadder eye and a harder edge, and with an understanding that one would struggle to find a realm on which nobody has placed an estimate. Meanwhile, the variously faded, deleted and barely legible portions of text are a legitimate way of performing a hesitant voice and a considerate, reconsidering mind.

One can instance 'LATE ONSET \PARTICLE CAPITALISM', in which a description of post-natal difficulties ...

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