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Near the beginning of three poems (1972), john ashbery writes,

I’m sorry—in staring too long out over this elaborate view one begins to forget that one is looking inside, taking in the familiar interior which has always been there, reciting the only alphabet one knows. To escape in either direction is impossible outside the frost of a dream, and it is just this major enchantment that gave us life to begin with, life for each other. Therefore I hold you. But life holds us, and is unknowable.1

This passage is a defense of poetry in global terms. After beginning with a characteristically breezy, off-hand apology, the poem first claims that the view of a certain “elaborate” external prospect might cause us to forget that the “alphabet” of poetry comes from limning a “familiar interior.” Then the poem moves inward, to the realm of “dream” and “enchantment,” those uses of poetry that are as traditional as the description of the prospect with which the passage begins. But this movement inside brings us into the domain of relationality, not solipsism, and Ashbery proceeds to build the poetic address into an embrace. The poem then moves back outward to a sense of being held together by “unknowable” forces. Ashbery’s “I” constitutes a global subject to the extent that his subjectivity, like the poem itself, comprises such forces. The poem inverts the imperial gaze of its sovereign, white, U.S. male poetic speaker, who determines that the “elaborate view” before him is one of immanent rather than eminent domain, at one with the “major enchantment” that brings “life for each other.”2 This view requires both active care and the acknowledgment of precarity: the dependence upon unseen forces that exceed our forms of knowing. The poem is built through a dialectical movement in which the address to and care for the other is transformed into an enchanted sense of being grasped by the world, an ecstatic process of encountering the unknowable in the alphabet of the known. [End Page 365]

Published in 1972, Ashbery’s language of dream and enchantment stands at an oblique angle to the brutality of the early 1970s—the dawning of our current “global age,” as Martin Albrow names it in his eponymous study.3 And yet the precise meaning, political valence, and general usefulness of “global” as a term to describe this period remain unsettled and subject to intense debate. Whereas twenty years ago globalization may have seemed “a polite euphemism for the continuing Americanization of consumer tastes and cultural practices,” as Susan Strange puts it, today the global has undergone a conceptual strengthening, and the call for a richer understanding of global processes has been amplified rather than muted.4 This forum turns to contemporary poets writing from a variety of positions in the world economy for a reconsideration of what “global” signifies and the master terms, keywords, and concepts we might use to grasp it. As the testimonies, musings, and polemics of the ten poets in this forum suggest, a reappraisal of the global also requires a reassessment of global poetics. Indeed, in order to claim that Ashbery’s poem, titled “The New Spirit,” has anything to do with “The New Spirit of Capitalism,” we must undertake a major revision of the premises under which poetry in general has been understood: the gap between critical global studies—the interdisciplinary critique of global capitalism—and poetic criticism must be annealed.5

Critiques of post-1970s globalization have long been underserved by familiar concepts for the global such as flow, hybridity, and scape.6 These circulatory metaphors can be misleading in their neutrality. Who are the agents promoting particular flows, maintaining the priority of certain circuits over others, diverting or shutting down routes, installing checkpoints? The description of the world in such terms reproduces the hierarchies that benefit more and more from their complexity, occultism, and normative posturing as accomplished [End Page 366] fact. The current wave of critical global theory—promulgated by such thinkers as Radhika Desai, David Harvey, Greta Krippner, Timothy Mitchell, Vijay Prashad, Kristin Ross, and Saskia Sassen—seeks to think beyond these early frameworks for the global.7 This period of globalization is distinguished by a number of common process that are manifest in diverse local forms and which include dispossessions of various kinds, the commodification of national citizenship, the precariousness of life and labor, the financialization of the global economy, and the “slow violence” of ecological catastrophe.8 To understand the poetry of the contemporary period, then, we need fresh concepts for the relation between poetry and these global forces and conditions. What happens if we think of poetry as a global literary form? What does the work of poetry have to tell us about globalization?

This forum calls for an expansion and radicalization of poetic criticism, an effort already more than underway in new work by Jasper Bernes, Marijeta Bozovic, Amy De’Ath, Michael Dowdy, Harris Feinsod, Rachel Galvin, Christopher Nealon, Sonya Posmentier, and Anthony Reed. It is an argument for the continuing politicization of the global, aligning the term with the unflagging struggles against dispossession, settler colonialism, and systemic racism. The generic qualities created by theories of poetic influence have often been distinctly racist and capitalist in the ways they perpetuate social and civil death. As Reed writes in Freedom Time, “Often subtending these genealogies . . . is an implicit transhistorical notion of poetry or of the human (which has always been a cornerstone of racial projects) that by default is white and usually male.”9 While Reed is referring to avant-garde traditions, the point applies to various other lines of poetry no less strongly. This forum is one attempt to close the widening gap between the concepts available to poetry critics and the poems that people are writing and reading. To close this gap would mean thinking about tropes and schemes geopolitically; it would also mean rejecting the gatekeeping and the systematic exclusions that have served as a kind of immunological defense of poetic criticism. The concepts that we need to understand contemporary poetry simply cannot be found in traditions of thinking that reproduce exactly what poets are fighting with all their breath.

Part of the difficulty of laying out the coordinates for this “age” has to do with the recondite set of acts that have shaped it. From the perspective of geopolitical economy, these are not, primarily, major events, nor colorful personages, but [End Page 367] rather contingent decisions about monetary policy, which have violent effects on the sociality Ashbery imagines. Beginning in the 1970s, U.S. monetarist policy, designed to combat intractably high inflation, forged a financialized world economy, which Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin chart in The Making of Global Capitalism (2012).10 For Greta Krippner, the removal of interest rate ceilings—and, specifically, of Regulation Q, established by the Banking Act of 1933—is decisive in shaping the contemporary period. Krippner writes,

free flowing—and expensive—credit reconfigured the political terrain, disorganizing a potentially broad-based coalition of middle-class homeowners and urban advocates that demanded that the burdens of inflation be more equitably shared. In this context, financial deregulation functioned both to alleviate festering social tensions and to set the stage for the financialization of the U.S. economy in subsequent decades.11

While Krippner, Panitch, and Gindin focus on U.S. policy as inhibiting broad-based social movements that have goals of redistribution, Vijay Prashad offers a more capacious, international survey of global transformations after the 1970s. Prashad’s view takes in “the breakdown of the factory regimes across the world (post-Fordism), the emergence of the new technological infrastructure (computers, satellites), and the magnetic attraction of all the planet’s wealth to the all-powerful financial centers of the North (financialization).”12 Although these three accounts are hardly representative of the expansive corpus of geopolitical economy, they do suggest a consensus. Whether contemporary globalization is understood to be a rupture with the past or, as Paul Jay finds, an acceleration of existing global processes, the early years of the 1970s mark the beginning of a distinct period of historical capitalism.13

The first wave of theories of globalization analyzed the global as a change in the relation between space and time. In The Consequences of Modernity (1990), cited by nearly every work on globalization in the 1990s, Anthony Giddens defined globalization “as the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa.”14 Following Giddens, globalization theory is useful for its attention to processes that both deeply affect and yet extend beyond the local: mass migration, diaspora, and displacement, as well as nascent forms of solidarity and collective political organization. Today, Giddens’s formulation works best not as a description, but as a continuing provocation. In her introduction to Framing the Global (2014), Hilary E. Kahn writes, “the global is not only anchored in the broader regulatory frameworks, standards, and rules that structure our lives, but it is also embodied in essential aspects of our being that may seem to have nothing to do with globalization.”15 It is uncontroversial to claim that the individual and the local are inflected by global forces and events. But since the globality of the individual and local is occluded by a neoliberal capitalist class, the work of detecting, preserving, or resuscitating them must be a continuing, politically vital activity.

The consequences of this global contemporaneity take unusual shape when drawn into poetic forms, which can detect globality using their own resources. D. A. Powell’s “Long Night Full Moon” (2016) dramatizes the epistemological stance we might associate with a global perspective, even as it calls this stance into question for its flattening effects:

You only watch the news to find outwhere the fires are burning, which waythe wind is blowing, and whetherit will rain. Forecast ahead but first:A mother’s boy laid outin the street for hours.These facts don’t wash away.16

There is suffering seen, or overseen, at a distance: the body of Michael Brown in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. It is tied into, somehow connected to, climate change, wildfires, and drought in California. Perhaps this connection is as associative or as opportunistic as the news; perhaps it hints at a deeper thought, what Timothy Morton calls “the ecological thought.”17 Formally, [End Page 369] Powell’s compression is a strategy for juxtaposing as well as connecting disparate things. Yet the poem disturbs this contiguity and leveling, which may uncritically place racialized state violence and ecological disaster on the same plane—or may, perhaps, tempt the viewer to prioritize one set of political actions over another (“but first”). Regardless, the staccato self-accusation—“you only watch the news to find out”—condemns the viewer who has the security to claim a choice between catastrophes.

Along with the relational effects of distanciation, integration, compression, and “glocalization” examined by Giddens and other social thinkers, a second marker of contemporary globalization is the financialization of the current global economic system.18 Between 1980 and 1999, there was a 597 percent increase in long-term capital markets.19 Sassen notes that the total value of derivatives in 2013 reached more than one quadrillion dollars.20 Theories of finance—that sphere of activity where, in Fernand Braudel’s evocative metaphor, the “great predators roam”—have proliferated in the years since the world financial crises of 2007–8.21 Giovanni Arrighi’s The Long Twentieth Century (1994) continues to be an early reference point. Arrighi charts and analyzes the alternation of systemic cycles of trade and finance from the Florentine city-states through the end of British imperialism and the dawning of U.S. hegemony. While Arrighi’s long view situates the contemporary period as one among many turns from commodities and trade to credit and militarization, Donald MacKenzie’s account of the invention of financial instruments uncovers the routes by which theories of finance transformed financial markets themselves, functioning not as a “camera” to picture the economy, but as an “engine” to change it.22

Today, the links between poetry and finance are found not so much in the architectures of poetic form as in the rhetoric poets employ, question, or discard. Examining the structure of financial derivatives through the rhetorical form of the promise, Arjun Appadurai argues that we live in an age characterized by the “failure of language.”23 We should expect poetic forms both to acknowledge and confront this failure: poetry, as Joshua Clover writes, “via its own internal characteristics qua poetry, might bring into clearer apprehension the elusive character of finance and, more critically, of value itself.”24 Recent books of poetry try to imagine what the poetic speaker will look like after the end of capital, from the perspective of the current period of financialization that Krippner [End Page 370] calls Capitalizing on Crisis. What does the situation of the poetic speaker look like in very contemporary poetry? Here is Christopher Nealon in section 16 of The Victorious Ones (2015):

So look I know I won’t see the end of capitalBut you, child—I wonder—Surely it won’t be pretty    Yes I know      protective gear        awkward alternative currenciesBut maybe also how it might be said of you / that you were the ones        who saw it through    The destruction from below of all the fucked-up supply chains by        those giant worms from Dune    The dropping like a fly of every droneI’ve seen you by the window with your beautiful wide eyes as storms    rolled in    I’ve tried to teach you the wordsI’ve imagined you remembered at the end of a long life, circled by        friends beneath an empty skyYour friends who wrote the poems of the 22nd century        The poems of storms and drones,And hoped that when they reached the line about you it would read,    He who loved lightning watched them fall 25

Nealon’s poem, with its cross-generational apostrophe to a young child, is about what poems will be about after capital. The poem itself does no more than prepare for this future within the bounds of life under capital. The poem’s thematic matter calls for more urgent attention than an analysis of how the poem “works”: the poems of the future will be poems of storms and drones. In The Victorious Ones, there is a weakening sense in which the interiority, mood, or singular mind of a fictional speaker is manifest in the formal presentation of the poem. Enjambment carries no specific tropological force or function: the line ends because that is how far it goes in thought. The rhyme seems to be the result of a casual accident. Poetry after the end of capital will not be rooted in “prophecy,” as Nealon’s next poem describes, but in “lists, enumeration, inventory.” And it will “choose sides.” Nealon’s book imagines a poem no longer ontologized by either the fiction of a lyric subject or the deconstructive possibilities of textuality, but rather by its adjacency to other language. [End Page 371]

The contemporary poets in this forum likewise propose a global poetics that contains a strong critique of poetry’s purported immunity from questions of race, class, ability, and gender and looks toward a decolonization, a dehumanization, and perhaps a delyricization of poetry. Thinking about poetry as a global form tends therefore to take place today on the flickering boundaries of what counts as poetic criticism; part of the intention behind this forum is to test those boundaries.

The radical tradition of critical black studies provides a third site for theorizing poetry’s globality. The end of Keynesian economic policy and the spread of neoliberalism and market securitization have amplified the call for transcolonial solidarity in the face of domestic racism. Analyses of poetry, lyric, and song by Saidiya Hartman and Fred Moten refer us to racialized structures of global capitalism. Yet their examinations of common poetic terms such as “subject” and “surplus” have gone largely unrecognized within strands of poetic criticism. This is not so much a matter of coincidental likeness as it is a matter of exclusion. The existence of much poetic criticism has only been possible by tacitly expelling the global from its purview. In Scenes of Subjection, Saidiya Hartman writes, “the slave is the object or the ground that makes possible the existence of the bourgeois subject and, by negation or contradistinction, defines liberty, citizenship, and the enclosures of the social body.”26 There have, of course, been many critiques and bracketings and returns of the poetic subject, especially in the traditions of LANGUAGE and conceptual poetries. But to follow in the line of Hartman’s thought instead, the very premise, the very idea, of a bourgeois lyric subject is made possible by the existence of a (lyric) object: the commodified human, the Atlantic slave trade, and the ongoing racialized violence necessary for the continuation of capitalism. This is one way in which the process of “lyricization,” through which the lyric is made by our reading it as such, occurs in concert and in complicity with global capitalism.27

Anti-racist global critique and poetic criticism have also explored, independently, notions of “surplus.” Colloquially as well as critically, the adjective “lyrical” marks language that cannot be reduced to its communicative [End Page 372] function, but is rather a remainder, supplement, or excess. Strangely, however, this “surplus” in poetry has been theorized in relative isolation from “surplus” in global capital. One task for a global poetics would be to uncover the relation between these surpluses, and in the process to embed the poetic term in a material history. In some treatments of poetic surplus, the heightening of the nonsignifying order of the poem dovetails with the fading of fictions of personhood. This disappearance is what Jonathan Culler means when he writes, in his Theory of the Lyric (2015), that “rhythm is an event without representation.”28 Or what Geoffrey Hartman means when he calls voice in poetry “the very process of sublimation” because “voice is intrinsically elegiac.”29 In other words, the more pronounced this performance, the more unlikely the poem’s investment in representation.

The relationship between rhythm, event, and representation that Culler proposes takes on a historical, global, and racialized trajectory in Fred Moten’s In the Break (2003). Moten is a global theorist of poetry: one who places lyric firmly in the history of capital. For Moten, rhythm is where representation, as the trace of the body, occurs. In In the Break, Moten reads a passage from Beauford Delaney’s journals, in which the painter describes both his sister’s singing and the fatal illness brought on by the lack of proper shelter or living conditions: “Listen to the sentence break or break down after the invocation of Sister’s singing. That breakdown is not the negative effect of grammatical insufficiency but the positive trace of a lyrical surplus.” He continues, “No need to dismiss the sound that emerges from the mouth as the mark of a separation. It was always the whole body that emitted sound: instrument and fingers, bend. Your ass is in what you sing.”30 For Moten, if song is not the sublimation of body, but rather its accompaniment, then life is in and on the line.

Danez Smith’s poem “Song of the Wreckage,” from [insert] boy (2014), conjoins surplus capital with one kind of lyrical surplus: the overwhelming bodily effects of grief are manifest through the tightly controlled intricacy of the sestina form. Smith begins his poem with an epigraph by James Baldwin: “how much time do you want for your progress?” The wreckage in the poem’s title marks the failure of time to bring progress for black lives. It is a song of afropessimism, the body of thought extending from Orlando Patterson through Hortense Spillers and Hartman to Jared Sexton and beyond.31 The poem takes the form of a long sestina, separated into eight poems of twenty-four lines each. Seven of these [End Page 373] poems are in the typical six-line sestina stanza; one is in tercets, couplets, and single lines. The first stanza reads:

I have no time for Red to be beautifulwith summer bloodied as it is & normalas it’s become, with the rusted, small bonesof boys who should be my father’s ageburied under the beaming bones of boyswho should be my age, still tinged with meat.32

The overdetermination of each end word is the excess of bodily grief, mourning, and sickness. Smith writes, “I mourn all the time / right out the sky.”33 Moreover, if time is another word for progress, then the poem replaces time with rhythm: “Let them cypher until their song is the new sun, / give them a joint & let them build a world from smoke. / Let them build a black boy’s world. Rhythm to replace time . . .”34 The rhythm is the frequency: the iteration of end words in a sestina-like pattern, such that the first end word is “beautiful” and the final end-word is “black.” The non-discursive aspect of the poem, a complex scheme of lexical repetition, is freighted with meaning. This lexical rhythm is not an event without representation, but rather the rhythm of the fucked-up notes in the head, to use a phrase from later in the poem. The heightened nondiscursivity is not where the human fades, to be replaced by an figure of voice, but where the body enters the poem.

The two poems by Nealon and Smith cited above capture two tendencies in contemporary poetry: to include relatively unadorned language and to gesture toward hypertrophied song. But there is something more significant going on in these two books, which take the rhetorical situation of address and the surplus of music and, as their titles hint, tie them directly to capitalism and racism. To read these poems, the formal qualities that are often placed in the genealogy of poetic forms must instead be treated within the contingent geopolitical and historical conditions of their emergence.

I asked the poets in this forum to choose a word or phrase to describe the relation between poiesis and the global. The conceptual term could be explicitly geopolitical, or it could uncover the global dimension of something to which we have not paid enough attention. The contributions to the forum are linked by [End Page 374] their attempts to locate the sources of poetry in sites of the global. In dialectical fashion, some of these sites only reveal themselves as global when the impulse of poetry arises. In Manal Al-Sheikh’s ars poetica, which begins the forum below, the condition for writing poetry is not the free flight of the imagination, but rather the unfettered movement between sites of the real—impossible for the refugee. The entries that follow examine the provenance of poetry in a sociality forged by the global. For Emma Ramadan, poetic expression is fundamentally non-original and polyvocal: the voice begins outside itself, in the deviation between an existing text and its translation. Timothy Yu draws a critical distinction between “copy” and “imitation,” showing how the latter implies a “conscious habitation” of another voice, in the process laying bare the power relations that striate cultural appropriation. For Marie de Quatrebarbes, the poetic line shares conceptual space with the English subtitle—not officially mandated, but anonymously created through digital .srt file. The time imprint on the file serves as a minimal gesture of acknowledgment of the other.

The next essays seize the terms of neoliberal globalization and stage an immanent critique of them, détourning, reappropriating, or countering them through poetic practice. Julie Morrissy situates poetry among the markers of multinational corporations, drawing attention to their affective charges of comfort and certainty. Katie Peterson pries “success” from a triumphal, capitalist slogan, restoring to the word a spatial, directional sense of following something that has just left the frame of vision. Omar Berrada counters the purported “leveling” of globalization with the reparative parataxis of fragments of English, French, and Arabic on the page. Meditating on the internationalist anti-racist poetics of Claudia Rankine’s Situation 1, Whitney DeVos revises the Keatsian confounding of beauty and truth, instead making poetic beauty the index of a change of world. Keston Sutherland draws attention to poetry’s intimate knowledge of the vanishing value of the individual in a world defined by credit default swaps. In the final entry, “Banana Republics of Poetry,” M. NourbeSe Philip turns to the regenerative, rhizomatic form of the banana leaf as an emblem for a poetry that recognizes torn and wounded states of being while investing them with the possibilities of spreading, dividing, and proliferating. Philip’s essay speaks to a tenet held in common by these poets. If the source for poetry’s making rests in the divisive, violent splittings provoked by the global, then the promise of poetry lies in riotous flights, unexpected assemblages, improvident alliances, and unlikely choruses—such as the one in this journal forum. [End Page 375]

Walt Hunter

walt hunter is Assistant Professor of world literature at Clemson University. His writing on twentieth-century and contemporary poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in ARCADE, College Literature, Cultural Critique, Essays in Criticism, Jacket2, the minnesota review, Modern Philology, and symploke. His current book project, “Ecstatic Call: The Uses of Global Poetry,” looks at contemporary poetry as a social form that makes visible processes of globalization. With Lindsay Turner, he has translated Frédéric Neyrat’s Atopies (2014), forthcoming from Fordham University Press.


1. John Ashbery, Collected Poems 1956–1987 (New York: Library of America, 2008), 252.

2. See Frédéric Neyrat, Atopies (Caen: Éditions Nous, 2014).

3. Martin Albrow, The Global Age: State and Society Beyond Modernity (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997).

4. Susan Strange, The Retreat of the State: The Diffusion of Power in the World Economy (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996), xiii. See also, for example, Justin Rosenberg, The Follies of Globalization Theory: Polemical Essays (New York: Verso, 2002).

5. Luke Boltanski and Eve Chiapello, The New Spirit of Capitalism, trans. Gregory Elliott (New York: Verso, 2006).

6. For flow, see Stuart Alexander Rockefeller, “Flow,” Current Anthropology 52 (2011): 557–78. A strong critique of leveling terms such as flow can be found in James Ferguson’s Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006). For work on hybridity in poetry, and an overview of the term in postcolonial theory, see Jahan Ramazani, The Hybrid Muse (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2001). For scape, see Arjun Appadurai, “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy,” Theory, Culture & Society 7 (1990): 295–310.

7. See Radhika Desai, Geopolitical Economy: After US Hegemony, Globalization, and Empire (London: Pluto Press, 2013); David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007); Timothy Mitchell, Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil (New York: Verso, 2011); Kristin Ross, Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune (New York: Verso, 2015); Saskia Sassen, Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014).

8. Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Uni versity Press, 2011).

9. Anthony Reed, Freedom Time: The Poetics and Politics of Black Experimental Writing (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), 3.

10. Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin, The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire (New York: Verso, 2012).

11. Greta Krippner, Capitalizing on Crisis: The Political Origins of the Rise of Finance (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011), 59–60.

12. Vijay Prashad, The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (New York: Verso, 2013), 88.

13. Paul Jay, Global Matters: The Transnational Turn in Literary Studies (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010).

14. Anthony Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1990), 64.

15. Hilary E. Kahn, “Introduction,” in Framing the Global: Entry Points for Research, ed. Hilary E. Kahn (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2014), 6.

16. D. A. Powell, “Long Night Full Moon,” (February 26, 2016),

17. Timothy Morton, The Ecological Thought (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010).

18. For background on these earlier conceptions of the global, see David Held and Anthony McGrew, “The End of the Old Order? Globalization and the Prospects for World Order,” Review of International Studies (1998): 219–43; Roland Robertson, Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture (London: Sage, 1992). [End Page 376]

19. Panitch and Gindin, Making of Global Capitalism, 174.

20. Sassen, Expulsions, 118.

21. Fernand Braudel, The Wheels of Commerce, vol. 2, Civilization and Capitalism, 15th–18th Century, trans. Siân Reynolds (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1992), 230.

22. Giovanni Arrighi, The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power, and the Origins of Our Times (New York: Verso, 2010); Donald MacKenzie, An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006), 12.

23. Arjun Appadurai, Banking on Words: The Failure of Language in the Age of Derivative Finance (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2015).

24. Joshua Clover, “Retcon: Value and Temporality in Poetics,” Representations 126 (spring 2014): 13.

25. Christopher Nealon, The Victorious Ones (Oakland: Commune Editions, 2015), 23–24.

26. Saidiya Hartman, Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 62.

27. Virginia Jackson, Dickinson’s Misery: A Theory of Lyric Reading (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005), 8.

28. Jonathan Culler, Theory of the Lyric (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015), 138.

29. The Geoffrey Hartman Reader, ed. Geoffrey Hartman and Daniel T. O’Hara (New York: Fordham University Press, 2004), 63.

30. Fred Moten, In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003), 38–39.

31. As K. Aarons argues in “No Selves to Abolish: Afropessimism, Anti-Politics, and the End of the World,” Mute (February 29, 2016),, “Far from disappearing with the 13th amendment, or even in the post-civil rights period, afropessimists argue that the formal traits of the slave relation were reproduced and kept alive through the perpetuation of a form of social and civil death that continues to materially and symbolically locate the Black body ‘outside Humanity.’”

32. Danez Smith, [insert] boy (Portland, OR: YesYes Books, 2014), 93.

33. Ibid.

34. Ibid., 108. [End Page 377]

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