Dear Angel of Death

Simone White, 1972-

Book - 2018

Poems and prose.

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 811.6/White Checked In
Dossier series (Brooklyn, NY)
Creative nonfiction
Brooklyn, New York : Ugly Duckling Presse [2018]
First edition, 2018.
Item Description
"Edition of 1600 copies"--Verso, title page
Physical Description
159 pages : illustrations (some color), facsimiles ; 22 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 155-158).
Main Author
Simone White, 1972- (author)
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Combining poetry and prose in her third collection, 2017 Whiting Award winner White (Of Being Dispersed) locates motherhood and the "relentless dailyness of living" as spaces for the exploration of humane modes of being under capitalism. Alert to troublesome histories ("beneath the highways of the Eastern Seaboard/ above the Mason Dixon Line/ underlie so many crossings"), White's speakers consider the risk and defiance of black motherhood in an economic system where "farms send blueberries and war." The shadow of mortality informs these meditations, as in the wide-ranging "Dog Poem," an arresting elegy for a father: "The brain stops even if until the last it performs miraculously the duty of remaining illuminated." White's droll sensibilities are evident throughout, whether depicting a stroller—"an adjunct body composed of errand and weight and tenderness and no small amount of power"—or offhandedly lamenting that "One's mother is often correct." Finishing with a dense, incisive essay in dialogue with Amiri Baraka, Nathaniel Mackey, and others, White delineates existential dilemmas of blackness while persuasively arguing against "capitulation to the legend of the Music as a superior space for investigating, as digging, as knowledge of freedom." Wry and eloquent as usual, White critiques and defies commodified life, her "arms gathering all so wide to hold everyone." (July) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Poetry. Literary Nonfiction. A meandering and dead-serious meditation challenging the centrality of Black Music to black poetry and black critical theory, Dear Angel of Death proposes disinvestment in the idea of the Music as the highest form of what blackness "is." This long essay includes many forms: philosophical divergence on the problem of folds for black life, a close reading of Nathaniel Mackey's neverending novel From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate, and an impassioned defense-cum-dismissal of contemporary hip hop's convergence with capitalism.