Each year I choose a different topic or genre to read, this year it is poetry.
Americans - especially white Americans - this weekend read, volunteer, educate yourself. Our education system didn't do the work for us. 🖤
I‘m not sure audio was the best way to go on this one...after completing audio I saw other reviewers mention stunning art work, and other visuals that enhanced their reading. I was also very distracted as I listened, so strike 2. Strike 3, my inflated expectations. This was a poignant collection/ jumping point for important dialogue and reflection but I wasn‘t blown away. A pick but maybe a book I‘ll need to revisit in print. #Pop21 #BLMreading
Going against popular opinions, I didn‘t love it. However, I believe that this book should be required reading for students in school instead of the classics such as Huckleberry Finn. This is a book that must be analyzed and highlights white ignorance, hidden racism, and the everyday traumas of modern racism. I had trouble grasping some of the content, but it doesn‘t mean that it‘s a bad book. This was an eye-opening and important read!
“That man who is forced each day to snatch his manhood, his identity, out of the fire of human cruelty that rages to destroy it, knows...something about himself and human life that no school on earth — and indeed, no church — can teach. He achieves his own authority, and that is unshakable.”
- October 10, 2006 / World Cup
I saw @AnneCecilie post about Just Us where she mentioned Citizen. It was available on Hoopla and I jumped on it. I spent the morning listening to it. I loved. An excellent collection of strong, inspirational and personal experience stories. I loved it.
No rating - this is a multimedia creation and my e-reader couldn‘t convey the intended experience. But I wanted to share this work.
Its free verse evocations of the traumas of racism, from “casual” to lethal, blew me over. I‘ve seen almost every section described as THE definitive part of the work, to its obvious credit. The quote in the image could have been any of a dozen searing lines that stuck with me. I think they will stay for a long time.
This book should be part of the American curriculum, pored over and processed, wept in and celebrated.
Personal, everyday, appalling and yet incredibly common racially charged situations opened my eyes and taught me, will continue to teach me, what my privilege looks like, the system I must push back against. This book feels like a full-length art museum exhibit peeled off the walls and poured into a book. A must read, without a doubt.
I‘ve been waiting for so long to read this book! My high school English teacher recommended it; I emailed him for some suggestions. I‘m so excited! 🙌
The top two are antiracism books I‘ve read recently, bottom 3 are on the list to read very soon. (There are others!)
Citizen is poetry, but so clear on the experience of racism, and on the impact of non-racist (rather than anti-racist) friends - it added hugely to my understanding.
SYWTTAR is really well-done, breaking down different aspects of systemic racism, combined with the author‘s own experience.
I think I will re-read this gem every few years and every few years, I will love it even more.
Written in 2014, this book could have been written this month. Through poems, prose, and art pieces, the book covers everything from being pulled over by police to how Serena Williams is treated at the highest levels of tennis. The most resonant page is an RIP list of Black people killed, and the list goes on with places for future names, who are sadly added to in the reader‘s mind to show those killed since this book was published.
I read this back in 2017 and at the time thought it would be even more powerful on audiobook...so I put it in as a recommendation at my Overdrive library. And now 3 years late, they acquired 2 copies of it. My request must have been early on, because it checked out automatically to me, with a waiting list after me. Timely of course, which I‘m guessing is why they purchased it now. So it seemed serendipitous to revisit it now, as I re-listened⤵️
Wow. The experience of racism through poem-prose-essays, the relentlessness of the ‘mis-speaking‘ (Did she really just say that?), the cumulative ‘little things‘ - & the long list of ‘in memory of‘s. And the friends, who leave the comments as your problem...
Really powerful &, as someone who could do more, lots to ponder.
Get the audio.
A sample: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/56848/citizen-you-are-in-t...
How to support Black publishers and bookshops (UK edition) https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/2020/june/support-black-authors-publishers-bo...
I love this graphic of books to help us grow in anti-racism. A friend pointed out that if you have the means, consider buying from black-owned independent bookstores. I need to do some research to find some, so if you know of any, please let me know! Artwork by Jane Mount, posted on Facebook by Roger Gonzales.
Just grabbed Citizen out of the mailbox this morning, unfortunately I am so behind!! I will be finishing Robinson‘s poems today and hopefully will have it sent out tomorrow.
So sorry @mklong @Bookishthoughts @TheBookKeepers for my lateness. #lmpbc
Wow. Deeply affecting book. It‘s weird to say you loved it, when the reason for its content is pain. Does that make sense? A gut punch & something that deserves to be read & will stay with me always. Thanks for picking this & I‘ll be sending it out this week. #lmpbc
@Bookishthoughts @mklong @HufflepuffGirl90
How have I not read this already?! Citizen is a powerful, direct meditation on race, racism, its cumulative effects, and its relationship to citizenship. Rankine is a master with words, and I found almost every sentence of this affecting in some way. There‘s some really excellently built motifs. The section on Serena Williams was a real highlight for me, and the final two sentences will stick with me forever. #readharder2020
Powerful use of second person POV, along with visual art, photo, and video to convey the cumulative effect of everyday racism. This is not the type coming from overt racists, it‘s far more insidious and would come from people who would swear that they aren‘t racist at all.
Sorry #LMPBC buddies, last week got away from me but it is heading out to @bookishthoughts today!
Following up on the #qotd from earlier this week, here‘s an article from Slate with their thoughts on the 50 best nonfiction books of the last 25 years. Perhaps some future classics?
My fiction/nonfiction book pairing for #NonficNov is FRIDAY BLACK, a collection of speculative fiction short stories with CITIZEN, nonfiction essays, images, and poetry. If you found one of these books powerful, I think you‘ll find the other equally compelling. They both creatively tackle the exhaustion that comes with dealing with microaggressions (and flat-out aggression) of being Black in an America that perpetuates institutional racism.
I think this is probably excellent and I enjoyed most of it but my caveat needs to be I am inept at appreciating poetry. I nearly always would rather spend time with a novel. I can only point feebly at bits I liked without having the language to say why. Predictably, my finger hovers over sections that are more like prose than poetry ( that bit on Serena was a highlight).
#readharder2019 - Poetry
I finally picked this up because we talked about it in one of my American Studies classes that I'm taking and wow, was this an experience. A blending of poetry, visual collage, prose, memoir that takes a look at the problems that still permeate race relations in the 21st digital century in a society that boasts about calling itself and being "post-racial." A punch to the gut ?