Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era is an edited collection of critical essays and poetry that investigates contemporary elegy within the black diaspora. Scores of contemporary writers have turned to elegiac poetry and prose in order to militate against the white supremacist logic that has led to recent deaths of unarmed black men, women, and children. This volume combines scholarly and creative understandings of the elegy in order to discern how mourning feeds our political awareness in this dystopian time as writers attempt to see, hear, and say something in relation to the bodies of the dead as well as to living readers. Moreover, this book provides a model for how to productively interweave theoretical and deeply personal accounts to encourage discussions about art and activism that transgress disciplinary boundaries, as well as lines of race, gender, class, and nation.
Not since the murder of Emmett Till has Black America been so utterly moved by the murder of Trayvon Martin. This collection represents our collective anger and mourning for the erasure of all Black bodies – known and unknown, past and future. These are elegies not just for the dead, but an elegy for the American promise. --Dr. Dolores V. Sisco – American Studies Youngstown State University
This collection will be a valuable resource in studying African American literature along with the Black Lives Matters movement. -- Cedric Burrows, Marquette University
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Emily Ruth Rutter, "‘Where will all that beauty go?’: A Tribute to Poet-Scholar Tiffany Austin"
Chapter 2: Emily Ruth Rutter, Tiffany Austin, Sequoia Maner, and darlene anita scott, "Elegiac Resistance: An Introduction to Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era"
I. "Elegiac Reconfigurations"
Tony Medina, "Senryu for Trayvon Martin" and "From the Crushed Voice Box of Freddie Gray"
Angela Jackson-Brown, "I Must Not Breathe"
Anne Lovering Rounds, "American Diptych"
Jerry Wemple, "Nickel Rides: For Freddie Gray"
Chapter 3: Laura Vrana, "Denormativizing Elegy: Historical and Transnational Journeying in the Black Lives Matter Poetics of Patricia Smith, Aja Monet, and Shane McCrae"
Chapter 4: Maureen Gallagher, "The Didactic and Elegiac Modes of Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric"
Chapter 5: Anne Rashid, "Lucille Clifton’s and Claudia Rankine’s Elegiac Poetics of Nature"
Chapter 6: J. Peter Moore, "in terrible fruitfulness: Arthur Jafa’s Love is the Message, The Message is Death and the Not-Lost Southern Accent"
Emily Jo Scalzo, "After Charleston"
Paula Bohince, "The Flint River"
Lisa Norris, "Big-Beaked White Birds"
Steffan Triplett, "Slumber Party"
Sequoia Maner, "upon reading the autopsy of Sandra Bland" and "Black Boy Contrapuntal: For Trayvon Martin"
II. "Hauntings and Reckonings"
Danielle Legros Georges, "Poem of History" and "As Falling Star"
darlene anita scott, "A Series of Survivals"
Sean Murphy, "Bud Powell’s Brain"
Sarah Giragosian, "Nina"
Chapter 7: Almas Khan, "Black Lives Matter and Legal Reconstructions of Elegiac Forms"
Chapter 8: Sequoia Maner, "Anatomizing the Body, Diagnosing the Country: Reading the Elegies of Patricia Smith"
Chapter 9: Deborah M. Mix, "‘A diagnosis is an ending’: Pathology and Presence in Bettina Judd’s Patient."
Tiffany Austin, "Peaches"
Charlie Braxton, "Strays in the Hood"
Lauren K. Alleyne, "Poetry Workshop after the Verdict: For Trayvon" and "Elegy: For Tamir"
III. "Elegists as Activists"
Jacqueline Johnson, "Soul Memory (for Renisha McBride)"
Chris Campanioni, "#IWokeUpLikeThis or: The Latest in Space-Age #PostInternet Pajamas" and "rendition"
Cameron Barnett, "Uniform; or things I would paint if I were a painter"
Chapter 10: Licia Morrow Hendriks, "‘A Cause Divinely Spun’: The Poet in an Age of Social Unrest"
Chapter 11: Megan Feifer and Maia Butler, "Edwidge Danticat’s Elegiac Project: A Transnational Historiography of U.S. Imperialist State Violence"
Chapter 12: Brother Yao (Hoke S. Glover III), "Loving You Is Complicated: Empire of Language #4"
Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon, "No Indictment (On the Death of Sandra Bland)"
Nicholas Rianard Goodly, "Skin Tones"
Jason Harris, "Appraisal (Elegy for As of a Now)"
Tiffany Austin, "Dark Milk: After Basquiat"
Chapter 13: Sequoia Maner, "An Interview with Amanda Johnston, Co-Founder of Black Poets Speak Out"
Prompts for Further Discussion
Appendix for Further Reading