Friday, December 18, 2015

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine


Frustrating and a front-loaded effort for me, as I did not love her first prose poems book, and feel reverse-victimized as the toady privileged white male she might be demonizing (at her worst).

But I have to say that after laboring through the book,  I found it scintillating and unique.  She takes on sociology and history and psychology as her own tropes and twists them masterfully in short order.  I was moved and radicalized in a strange way.  Quite beautiful and quite unique.

Although I do wish she stop writing prose.  But what do I know?

Language that feels hurtful is intended to exploit all the ways that you are present.  Your alertness, your openness, and your desire to engage actually demand your presence, your looking up, your talking back, and, as insane as it is, saying please. (p. 49)

Then the voice in your head silently tells you to take your foot off your throat because just getting along shouldn't be an ambition. (p. 55)








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