(O Books, 1994)
The trajectory of Abigail Child’s book Mob is as vast and populated as the Weegee photo on the cover, "Coney Island, 28th of July, 1940, 4’clock in the afternoon," filled with bathers staring into the sun/camera/East expectantly. Sexy, violent, driving, Mob exists persistently in an exploding landscape. Not afraid of saying so, Child insists upon offering a social and political critique in which she even shows glimpses of herself being duped. In the powerful pivotal piece, "Civilian Liberties," composed in prose blocks sandwiched between brief sign posts, ways in and ways out, coded trailers and postscripts, Child aphoristic, loud, and crashing asserts: "To think/in the ‘land of the free’ insures displacement" . Throughout Mob’s long serial pieces, Child is forging innovative structures and sites for registering the vast dimensions and shifts of her explorations of diverse objects of research, from soft, damp places to gasping crossroads. With a nagging shadow of an absent linchpin, pressing outward, there is an urgency, an immediacy to these observations by Child, the keen, erotic theoritician who relentlessly poses questions: "HOW TO TRANSLATE WHAT CANNOT CLOSE" . Both rhetorically and structurally Child is exploring in a highly taught thread-work the reaches of fiction and poetry, a constant pushing and playing with the so-called givens and expectations of genre. And there is more. An active feminist project is woven deeply into the movements and grounded into the articulations of Mob, most overtly in the simmering piece entitled "Beyond Surplus" where Child is enacting and creating innovative metaphors and idioms for female sexuality, outlining a framework for a feminine aesthetic. "BETWEEN MY THIGHS/YOUR MOUTH IMPROVISING"  Child, through the various compositions and range of materials in Mob, demonstrates how the site of writing offers the possibility for social and cultural transformation and subversive thought.
With sure grace Abigail Child explores the hurting corners of our vicious world and the tender places on our bodies. Her new book is a fiery J’accuse against a war-fueled, heterosexist Uberhaus that flaunts "the privelege of a window ignoring its cost." She has always been a provocative poet and thinker, but now she writes her twin obsessions into transparence. Between the words vast flamethrowers aimed by angels singe and give off steam.
Abigail Child’s Mob is sexy and scary. Like her films, these poems use thrilling formal strategies, kinetically tracing, tracking, and dancing the mind of the body to challenge the social distopia with eros. The eros of these poems is gorgeously articulated and deeply feminist in its manner of exploring the boundaries and sometimes lack of boundaries between feminine sexual joy and the violence and power blockages of social decay.
Mob: Let those without skin cast the first rip-up. Sentences ticking, syllable detonators to choke the bully because readers can foam common sense just dispersed as lacandone dwelling. Scatsung subtleties & colossalized jumpstarts...kick back the covers. No shun fun, A-line molecules. The elusive revs up story as loinwards’ exemptive trigger better than staccato. Lips bolt the ballot licking the surplus. Only the impossible is intimate enough. X Y Z book ends between plural.