by Claudia Rankine
Library Journal Longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award in poetry, this follow up to Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric brings together essays, images, and poems on the stress of citizenship in a deeply racist country. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Starred Review. In this trenchant new work about racism in the 21st century, Rankine, recently appointed chancellor of the American Academy of Poets and winner of the 2014 Jackson Poetry Prize, extends the innovative formal techniques and painfully clear-sighted vision she established in her landmark Don't Let Me Be Lonely. Accounts of racially charged interactions, insidious and flagrant, transpiring in private and in the public eye, distill the immediate emotional intensity of individual experience with tremendous precision while allowing ambiguity, ambivalence, contradiction, and exhaustion to remain in all their fraught complexity. Combining poetry, essay, and images from media and contemporary art, Rankine's poetics capture the urgency of her subject matter. Indeed, much of the book focuses on language: sound bites from cultural commentators; the words of acquaintances, colleagues, and friends; responses and moments of silence; what it means to address and be addressed; and what it means when one's only recourse is to sigh. "A body translates its you-/ you there, hey you,"¿ she writes, "The worst hurt is feeling you don't belong so much/ to you."¿ Once again Rankine inspires sympathy and outrage, but most of all a will to take a deep look at ourselves and our society. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list Rankine, winner of the Jackson Poetry Prize and chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, is playwright and essayist as well as poet, and all three forms are present in her second, galvanizing American Lyric, following Don't Let Me Be Lonely (2004). In prose poems and poetic essays as sharp and stinging as a surprise slap to the face, Rankine matter-of-factly chronicles ordinary encounters poisoned by racism. Thoughtless and reflexive remarks and responses, such as a white therapist reacting with fear and aggression when a black client appears at her door. She also addresses, with fresh insights and precision, the adversities facing tennis star Serena Williams, presents a piece titled Frisk and Search, and offers deeply resonant tributes to those felled by racial violence, including Trayvon Martin. In poems of solitary reflection, despair, and conviction, the speaker considers the eloquence of sighs and rejects the directive, Let it go. Accompanied by evocative images, Rankine's arrestingly forthright, emotionally authentic, and artistically lithe inquiry induces us to question and protest every racial assault against our individual and collective humanity.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2014 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.