Madame Deluxe is all things loud and leopard print. Inspired by years of watching drag shows, Darlington evokes a persona who wanders the periphery of femininity, catcalling paradigms from Venus to Victoria’s Secret. Striking out against artifice, staging her own myth, Madame Deluxe is a she-male Vesuvius. Expect scat, expect 350-lb. poems, expect a guide to the pleasures of leather and a manual for modern marriage.
In this raucous debut collection, Darlington shocks, seduces, and intrigues us—spurring us to rethink our ideas about women and feminity. Madame Deluxe was selected by Lawson Fusao Inada for the National Poetry Series.
“Tenaya Darlington, Madame Deluxe, is a truthsayer with attitude and an agenda to boot. She’s a charmer, an alarmer, a kick in the pants, a hoot. She embodies generations, furthers traditions; it’s heartening to know what poetry can still do.” —Lawson Fusao Inada
“Tenaya Darlington delivers curveball camp and Technicolor screwball ‘sonnets’ with pure post-feminist fun. A genius at genre-bending and gender-bending.” —Denise Duhamel
“On these street-smart and classically savvy pages, we witness high and low culture bed-down to make a new millennial love-child whose tongue will not be ruled.” —Timothy Liu