Claudia Rankine, _Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric_

WHILE I REMEMBER trial Don’t Let Me Be Lonely praised back then it appeared (2004), I had not versed in books any of Rankine’s books in the sight of Citizen, so high time I got encompassing to it, no? And this unit is actually a bit more crooked than Citizen, without quite the sort level of topical urgency.

It does (did?) take a certain amount of topical spur, though. Like Alice Notley’s Alma or Carla Harryman’s Adorno’s Noise, or (further obliquely) Peter Gizzi’s The Outernationale or Richard Greenfield’s Tracer, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely speaks to the depredations and anomie of the Bush II series. (That may be his jug-eared countenance dimly visible on the image of a snowy television screen that punctuates the book–his, or that of Alfred E. Neuman.) However, time references to deaths of James Byrd and Amadou Diallo and to the sixtieth part of a minute Gulf War cross the horizon of the body , a lot of the attention is closer to home: dulness, insomnia, medication, anxiety about one’s liver.

Which may exist a clue as to why this compass shares a subtitle with Citizen. Both volumes are interested in what happens to bodies, in scrupulous certain darker-skinned bodies in a society with a particular history at a feature time. The emphasis here falls to a greater degree medically than in Citizen–there is greater degree about pharmacology and suicide hotlines–and we finish more of the background noise of the civilization here, with allusions to Coetzee, Zadie Smith, and the films of Paul Thomas Anderson, moreover a continuity is detectable in the multi-layered response to a historical moment, in the reason so dry it burns and in such a manner cool it has to be moderate in degrees Kelvin.

If this any is a response to the Bush II years, and Citizen a reply to the Obama years, will we procure another American Lyric on (let’s sense of possible fulfilment) the Clinton years or (please idol no) the Trump years?

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