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The Poetics of Black Aesthetics

The Poetics of Black Aesthetics KIMBERLY LAMM Evie Shockley, Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry. Iowa City: University of Iowa, 2011. 260 pp. $39.95. he most compelling antiracist scholarship makes clear what many have known all along--that blackness is an imaginatively resourceful counterclaim to the legalized thefts and systemic denigrations through which racism has been constituted and practiced. Blackness is "a structure of feeling," Alys Eve Weinbaum writes, "produced in reaction to the particular forms of racism that structure the racial formation within the United States."1 Needless to say, this capacious structure of feeling has inspired a compelling array of aesthetic practices that are at the center of American cultural life. For much of the twentieth century, these practices took shape against forces of circumscription, as racism functions like a machine that determines what kind of expressions are granted cultural visibility and value. Enter the Black Arts Movement (BAM), the aesthetic arm of Black Power, which worked to jam racism's machinery and insist upon distinctly black histories, mythologies, and imaginations so that black aesthetic forms (and the structures of feeling they index) could flourish-- sharply, forcefully, and without apology--in contradistinction to the 1. Alys Eve Weinbaum, Wayward Reproductions: http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Literature University of Wisconsin Press

The Poetics of Black Aesthetics

Contemporary Literature , Volume 55 (1)

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
Copyright
Copyright © the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin.
ISSN
1548-9949
Publisher site
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Abstract

KIMBERLY LAMM Evie Shockley, Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry. Iowa City: University of Iowa, 2011. 260 pp. $39.95. he most compelling antiracist scholarship makes clear what many have known all along--that blackness is an imaginatively resourceful counterclaim to the legalized thefts and systemic denigrations through which racism has been constituted and practiced. Blackness is "a structure of feeling," Alys Eve Weinbaum writes, "produced in reaction to the particular forms of racism that structure the racial formation within the United States."1 Needless to say, this capacious structure of feeling has inspired a compelling array of aesthetic practices that are at the center of American cultural life. For much of the twentieth century, these practices took shape against forces of circumscription, as racism functions like a machine that determines what kind of expressions are granted cultural visibility and value. Enter the Black Arts Movement (BAM), the aesthetic arm of Black Power, which worked to jam racism's machinery and insist upon distinctly black histories, mythologies, and imaginations so that black aesthetic forms (and the structures of feeling they index) could flourish-- sharply, forcefully, and without apology--in contradistinction to the 1. Alys Eve Weinbaum, Wayward Reproductions:

Journal

Contemporary LiteratureUniversity of Wisconsin Press

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