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Anagnorisis: Poems (Paperback)
  • Anagnorisis: Poems (Paperback)
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Anagnorisis: Poems (Paperback)

(author)
£19.95
Paperback 96 Pages / Published: 30/08/2018
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Anagnorisis, a concept Aristotle describes in his Poetics, refers to a moment in a play-a tragedy specifically-when the hero gains recognition of the true nature of his own character, condition, or relationship with an antagonistic entity. Watching-repeatedly, on a digital loop-the rampant state-sponsored murder of African-Americans over the past five years has lead the poet to a recognition that James Baldwin reflected as a prospect over thirty years ago. That being that an African-American, never has been and, in no current lifetime, will likely not be considered an equal citizen of this country with an equal right to life. Instead of responding to that reality with sadness or hurt (or even anger) the poems in the collection book operate in "functional disillusionment"-a vocal, sustained and actively manifested disbelief in the social, economic and legal systems black Americans are subject to.

The poems speak back to America: "we no longer have faith in you and will not until you give us reason." The poems are not concerned with gratitude. They are not concerned with coddling the sensibilities of the country's racial, class, sexual majorities. "The white man believes you when you go to him with that old sweet talk, 'cause you've been sweet-talking him ever since he brought you here," Malcolm X once said. "Stop sweet-talking him. Tell him how you feel. Tell him what kind of hell you've been catching[.]" Though it may have been perceived as a threat initially, it is more of a crucial communication strategy, for how can a country get better for a people when those people are constantly asked to temper and carefully couch (or silence) their honest laments? The poet recognizes the hell we have been catching. These poems aim to allow readers to know how catching that hell feels.

Publisher: Northwestern University Press
ISBN: 9780810137844
Number of pages: 96
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Dargan takes no prisoners in this book, himself or others. He looks our society right in its one Cyclopean eye, seeing, sadly and bitterly that there's always been a widening circle of murder of black males." --Washington Independent Review of Books

"In Dargan's Anagnorisis, what can be called 'disillusionment' is life torquing into complication and deeper possibilities. Here, communities in the micro and macro mangle and contort the speaker out of his focus on systems of oppression and onto oppressed people, decimating all distractions for charismatic calls for joy-'Yes, I am thankful, / but I cannot accommodate you / inside my gratitude, '--such that the speaker can, with wisdom, 'know how a song / do & don't tell.' Dargan leaves no social upheaval untouched. Ecopoetic, internationally erudite, and chiseled by love, these poems 'know the phenomenon that is judgment, ' making a torch song into a brilliant resurrection." --Phillip B. Williams, author of Thief in the Interior
"Anagnorisis is a book of riveting intimacy and of national significance; a reckoning with this terrifying immediate moment: Trump-times and macho disasters. Yet it is also a book of unsentimental and profound hope in flesh and blood everyday-living people. It is a book of "Dee Cee" and a book of America. Dargan's words are restrained, matter of fact and yet spell-binding. The landscape, the sound and the rhythm are gorgeous and true. His stories are throat catching. Anagnorisis will endure. Dargan is at once our poet and our poetics." --Dr. Imani Perry, Hughes-Rogers professor of African American studies at Princeton University and author of May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem

"The poems in Anagnorisis are weightlifting; repeatedly pushing the burden of current events--the gentrification of DC, the numberless black deaths at the hands of authority, U.S./Global relations, our rapidly altering ecosystem--away from chest, trying to hold them at a distance, only to pull them back and attempt to master the muscle required to survive and write and celebrate in times like these. 'Rage would be a word to fit in the mouth/ had the mouth not grown small from watching, ' Dargan writes, and does the work of gracefully making room in his poems to get eye-to-eye with a people's mammoth rage, and also remind us of the daily, small, and enduring hopes we must have for a better nation and world." --Elizabeth Acevedo, author of The Poet X

"Anagnorisis may well be Kyle Dargan's most virtuosically conceived book, while being his most naked, brutally honest revelation. It's not often we see these extremes in such a poised and powerful balance." --Ed Roberson, author of Closest Pronunciation and To See the Earth Before the End of The World

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