“because white men can’t
police their imagination
black men are dying”
I reread Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric recently. Published in 2014, this poetic, artistic snapshot of Black life in the US is stunning in its impact and intellectual heft. The book is decidedly not written for white men like me, and can, maybe should make white people uncomfortable. The combination of Rankine’s play with subject positions and the language’s poetic density makes me connect with the (narrative) voices.
Citizen was The Stacks Podcast book of the month (part of the reason I reread it). I really recommend listening to the episode. Darnell Moore’s excellent critique of what is left invisible (queer, trans Black lives) and the strengths of indeterminacy really expanded my understanding of the book.
I need a break from the real world
I will live in social media now
Until I am a word of myself!
Away you fly from such a brow!
People are just as bad
They’ve known the world along that way
But rent is cheaper
Since your own life is a day.
A poem inspired byEmily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and Sara Teasdale based on my most recent (English) tweet and composed with Google’s AI Verse by Verse.
We have to say it in a way that will delight the ear or the tongue or the mind of a reader who will never know us. It’s the only way in. And to do that, we have to be capable of imagining that reader, imagining them wholly, gassy and distracted by their phone and worried about the news and late to pick up their son from ballet.
Kaveh Akbar in conversation with Danez Smith for Granta. Both poets are shortlisted for the Forward Prizes for Poetry 2018.
Photo: Birbiglebug/CC BY-SA 4.0
A sentence like a punch.
From Sheryl Lunas “Neighbors Smoke on an Apartment Porch Owned by a Mental Health Agency” Poetry Magazine, January 2018
what if there were a room. or if there weren’t. where violence, history
and euphoria met within and preceded a body.
“Room for a Counter Interior”
Read the poem by Saretta Morgan in full at Lit Hub.
What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?
The world would split open.
Went out to buy a book by the new Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro, bought the new rupi kaur “The Sun and Her Flowers” instead. I’m fine with that.