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Cody-Rose Clevidence


In a deconstruction not only of the idea of “Nature” but of language as well, Cody-Rose Clevidence has created in Beast Feast a total-immersion experience of what William James called the “blooming, buzzing confusion” of being in the world. This is an attack on the Emersonian myth(ide)ologies of peaceful nature, moralism, and the state as well as a reminder of the complicated histories of cruelty and commodity that haunt the American forests. Clevidence celebrates the bodies of beasts, human and non-, and all the weirdness of the real and constructed world while wondering where a safe place might be found for them. “Do the beasts feast? Or do we feast on the beasts? To answer either or both questions is to descend into an underworld of decaying, regenerating language, whose prophetic argument about the natural world augurs etymologies of corroded animalia and a bibliomancy of theriophagic power. When Elizabeth Sewell proposed in The Orphic Voice that grammar is ‘an essentially mythological, active field, which still awaits its due inquiry,’ could she have been anticipating Cody-Rose Clevidence’s startling Beast Feast? Here is secret Orphic power, revealed and scrambled, bedecked with joules, singing daggered hymns.” —Peter O’Leary