Milking a Duck, Kate Parfet, pois-é, 2023, 24.13 x 30.48 cm, 104 pages, HB, ISBN: 9798218147839
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Milking a Duck is a visceral experience declared loudly through ideas of healing and trauma, power dynamics and autonomy, self-reckoning and being silenced, betrayal and trust. We are given an intimate accounting of Parfet’s journey towards becoming a mother; an attempt to understand the world through memory, loss, and moving forward. Parfet imagines a future just out of reach. Seemingly straightforward tasks prove more difficult than milking a duck. Such tangled emotions are quick to find refuge in the body: “invisible shapes / hold their weight”. While the collection is rooted in trauma, humor and tenderness ground each chapter in (new) life, death, and freedom… “onto crests burst open / cantering towards the sea.”

Challenging diagnoses, misrepresentation, and oppressive figures, the stakes become clear: facing the unknown with self-governance is both “a tale of defiance,” and the only way forward. With each page, connection to body, self, and inner child drives the speaker into a world at once vulnerable and insistent on being heard. In the end, perhaps to be(come) a mother is not to hold, but to let go. Amid the turmoil that life throws, “all blows have brought me to you / join me for a dip in Earth’s chaos.”

In developing the poetic narrative, Parfet invited a group of artist friends to explore these complex realities through drawings, graphics, and photographs, bringing new dimension to the text.

Contributors include Amanda Charchian, Austyn Gillette, Bliss Braoudakis, Chad Moore, Chelsea Mak, Gia Coppola, Gillian Steiner, Kayten Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Lara Salmon, Libby Gray, Mattea Perrotta, Scott West, Suomo Snook, Vanessa Dahbour, and Zoe Chait.

Kate Parfet’s debut chapbook, Mirror Domme, featuring illustrations by artist Tali Lennox, was published in 2018 in collaboration with Autre Magazine.

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