Ariana Reines’s 2011 publication from Fence Books, The Cow, shocked readers with graphic depictions of brutal sexual and animal violence. The poems harness the violent language of the slaughterhouse to work through the violence enacted against women, while Reines incorporates her own, more lyrical voice. By juxtaposing institutional, instructional language with “new sentences” reminiscent of Gertrude Stein, The Cow brutally rips the poem free from glossy or romanticized perceptions of violence and selfhood. While Reines explicitly compares gendered violence to cows as “pieces of meat” in a commodity culture, this article asks how such a reading intersects with theories on “the” animal, ecofeminism, and bare life. The article examines poetry as a site for resisting hegemonic anthropocentrism. By focusing on language as the often-used rationale for the intersections of species and gender dualisms, this article asks after ways that language can illuminate moments for disrupting gendered and species violence. This includes approaching Reines’s book through the lens that problematizes bare life through feminist animal theorists, such as Greta Gaard and Carol J. Adams, and Anat Pick’s concept of “creaturely poetics.”

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