Kim Kardashian's marriage - Sam Riviere



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Kim Kardashian's marriage
Sam Riviere
Paperback / softback
Faber & Faber
UK Publication Date

Sam Riviere's debut, 81 Austerities, began as a blog responding to the spending cuts, and went on in publication to win the 2012 Forward Prize for Best First Collection. A sequel of sorts, the 72 poems in Kim Kardashian's Marriage mark out equally sharpened lines of public and private engagement. Kim Kardashian's 2011 marriage lasted for 72 days, and was seen by some as illustrative of the performative spectacle of celebrity life.
Whatever the truth of this (and Kardashian's own statements refute it), Riviere has used the furore as a point of ignition, deploying terms from Kardashian's make-up regimen to explore surfaces and self-consciousness, presentation and obfuscation. His approach eschews a dependence upon confessional modes of writing to explore what kind of meaning lies in impersonal methods of creation. For, as with 81 Austerities, the process of enquiry involves the composition method itself, this time in poems that have been produced by harvesting and manipulating the results of search engines to create a poetry of part-collage, part-improvisation. The effect is as refractive as it is reflective, and disturbs the slant on biography until we are left with a pixellation of the first person. Kim Kardashian's Marriage is a captivating examination of artifice and reality, privacy and exposure, and an uncanny commemoration of the contemporary moment.

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Sam Riviere studied at the Norwich School of Art and Design, and holds a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from UEA. He is the author 81 Austerities (Faber & Faber, 2012), which won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and Standard Twin Fantasy (f.u.n.e.x., 2014), a pamphlet of poems. He was a recipient of a 2009 Eric Gregory Award.

The sudden crash from mundanities to gravesides, thunder and religion, play on the idea of "reality" entertainment and the inability for the reader to differentiate between was is real and what is fantasy.
The Independent

Full of glittering self-replicating empty boulevards, Kim Kardashian's Marriage seems to me an intensely sad collection
Ambit - Lucy Mercer

.what's new is Riviere's use of Google as an oracle, the results from which are strained through his own subjectivity, leading to poems that are at once organic and mechanical, personal and, in a sense, objective.
The New Yorker - Kenneth Goldsmith

.the poems are the opposite of confessional. They advertise their fabrication and yet by clipping text from blogs, comment boards, wikis and social media, they reveal plenty.
New Statesman

The effect is almost relentlessly ironic, yet there is something still residually 'confessional' about these bytes of text, arguably made more plaintive by their bewildered lack of context [.] this style is now inimitably Riviere's
Poetry Review - Tiffany Atkinson

.engages with the technological structures and strictures of the 2010s with a sophistication almost entirely lacking elsewhere in established British poetry.
The Quietus

.seems to suggest that we cannot be in the midst of so many strange images, so much empty verbiage, and remain unaltered.
Review 31

.a wry look at our online obsessions

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