History, Poetry, and the Social Relation: Maya Angelou, Bruce Andrews, Claudia Rankine, and Barrett Watten

Author:Herman Rapaport Time:2019-07-09 Click:

This essay considers the poets Maya Angelou, Bruce Andrews, Claudia Rankine, and Barrett Watten in the context of history and the social relation. The following rubrics apply: Maya Angelou as speaking truth to power; Bruce Andrews as deconstituting modes of signifying production; Claudia Rankine as interrogating the racialized discourse of faux bonding; and Barrett Watten as representing experiences of Bad History. Each of these rubrics concerns a certain struggle with history and the society it impacts that in turn mediates agency and language.Although it may seem that the four poets are arbitrarily selected, in fact the Angelou / Andrews pairing is based on Bob Perelman’s Marginalization of Poetry. The pairing of Rankine and Watten imitates Perelman in order to open up further issues and questions.


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