Monday, April 6, 2015


I just finished a beautiful book, Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric.

The prose poem is a meditation on contemporary black experience and subjectivity -- the endurance of racism and it's omnipresence into so many layers of human life and interaction. The loveliness of Rankine's writing is a wonderful enigma, that through such beauty she exposes such ugliness.

Citizen presents her words in juxtaposition with many haunting images, such as the art of Glenn Ligon, Nick Cave, Carrie Mae Weems. These images dialogue with the reflective prose in a particularly powerful way. Citizen confronts the racist murders of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner. It moves in and through these horrors with writing attempting to make sense of it -- but there is such senselessness:

"because white men can't
police their imagination
black men are dying."

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