Kim Kardashian's Marriage by Sam Riviere, book review: Now it's Kim the poet


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The Independent Culture

On Sam Riviere's blog, there is a two-minute clip of the morphing face of a girl, backed by music which may well have been borrowed from the credits to one of the E! Entertainment channel's less popular reality TV dramas. The promotion for Riviere's new collection of poetry comes in the form of a trashy video trailer.

Kim Kardashian's Marriage is the follow up to Riviere's much admired first collection, 81 Austerities. The book both celebrates and despairs at the disappearing line between reality and fictional entertainment in celebrity and online culture, a concept which is neatly encapsulated by the California socialite's heavily self-publicised relationship with basketball player Kris Humphries.

The book incorporates 74 poems – one for every day of their marriage, which was widely speculated to be a publicity stunt.

Kardashian fans looking for something heavy to add to their Kimye memorabilia might be disappointed to learn that there is no strict mention of Kim, her ass, nor her terrifying mother, and yet her presence is everywhere. Whether I was supposed to or not, I couldn't help but read every single one of these poems in my head through Kim's high-pitched voice. Some lines could easily have been picked straight off Kourtney & Kim Take New York ("Sounds like heaven/ remixed for my Halloween party"), but others are dark, alert, and laughably far removed from anything shown on the likes of E!.

Short, characterless stanzas cross shallow subjects such as ice-cream, sunglasses, berries and "hardcore" (a sly nod to Kardashian's sex tape?) before suddenly clashing against heavier lines concerning death, religion and aspects that not even Hollywood could gloss over completely; "grave weather", for instance, describes a funeral. It's a story in a sentence and is really rather beautiful.

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 collection is also funny and self-mocking – it has to be or it wouldn't work. "Spooky Weather" throws together lines such as "this is a repost from last October", "I have to apologise if I'm not around for the next few days", mocking the self-importance that so many blogs are ridden with – and perhaps even the corrosive effect this vanity has on creativity.

Will Kim Kardashian's Marriage be studied as an English Literature A-level text in years to come? By then, the text will already be out of date – in fact, it already is. Kim Kardashian's Marriage should really have been published years ago, when the discussion point was a little fresher and reality dramas still in their peak. Both in its supposed reality and its literary immortalisation, Kim Kardashian's Marriage is a strong yet ridiculous concept that, much like the celebrity culture I cannot help but consume, I'll never quite know what to make of.