White blood A lyric of Virginia

Kiki Petrosino, 1979-

Book - 2020

"In her fourth full-length book, White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia, Kiki Petrosino turns her gaze to Virginia, where she digs into her genealogical and intellectual roots, while contemplating the knotty legacies of slavery and discrimination in the Upper South. From a stunning double crown sonnet, to erasure poetry contained within DNA testing results, the poems in this collection are as wide-ranging in form as they are bountiful in wordplay and truth. In her poem "The Shop at Monticello," she writes: "I'm a black body in this Commonwealth, which turned black bodies/ into money. Now, I have money to spend on little trinkets to remind me/ of this fact. I'm a money machine & my body constitutes the common weal...th." Speaking to history, loss, and injustice with wisdom, innovation, and a scientific determination to find the poetic truth, White Blood plants Petrosino's name ever more firmly in the contemporary canon"--

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 811.6/Petrosino Checked In
Louisville, KY : Sarabande Books [2020]
Main Author
Kiki Petrosino, 1979- (author)
Physical Description
107 pages ; 22 cm
  • Prelude
  • What Your Results Mean: Western Africa 28%
  • Happinefs
  • Albemarle
  • Instructions for Time Travel
  • Monticello House Tour
  • If You Tell Them Sally Hemings Was Three-Fourths White
  • La Cuisinière Bourgeoise
  • Essay in Architecture
  • Terrorem
  • The Virginia House-Wife
  • The Shop at Monticello
  • Souvenir
  • Farm Book
  • The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy
  • What Your Results Mean: Northwestern Europe 12%
  • Louisa
  • In Louisa
  • A Guide to the Louisa County Free Negro & Slave Records, 1770-1865
  • Message from the Free Smiths of Louisa County
  • Louisa County Patrol Claims, 1770-1863
  • The Origins of Butler Smith
  • Message from the Free Smiths of Louisa County
  • The Origins of Harriett Smith
  • Mrs. A. T. Goodwin's Letter to the Provost Marshal, 1866
  • The Estate of Butler Smith
  • Message from the Free Smiths of Louisa County
  • How It Feels to Love Butler Smith
  • Message from the Free Smiths of Louisa County
  • Heriac Tourism in Central Virginia
  • Approaching the Smith Family Graveyard
  • What Your Results Mean: North and East Africa 5%
  • Interlude
  • Psalm
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes

Prelude You're on a train & your ancestors are in the Quiet Car. The Quiet Car is locked with a password you can't decrypt. You're a professional password decrypter, but your ancestors are demolition experts. You're wearing black tactical gear & your ancestors are wearing black tactical gear. You're dashing through each compartment, slamming doors open, while your ancestors lay small explosives. As heat expands within the carriage, you escape through a picture window. You climb to the top of the train & your ancestors rappel down the sides. You're rappelling down one side of the train when you glimpse your ancestors above you. They leap from carriage to carriage as if weightless, as if drifting, as if curling tongues of snow. You cling to the side of the train as each of your ancestors lifts away from you. They float into the cloud of themselves. In the rushing light, you perceive them as hundreds slow snake doctors. O -- you begin. "The Shop at Monticello" I'm a black body in this Commonwealth, which turned black bodies into money. Now, I have money to spend on little trinkets to remind me of this fact. I'm a money machine & my body constitutes the common wealth. I spend & spend in order to support this. I support this mountain with my black money. Strange mountain in late bloom. Strange mansion built on mountains of wealth. I spend so much, I'm late for the tour where I'm a blooming black dollar sign. I look good in the Dome Room prowling its high-gloss floor. It's common to desire such flooring for my own home, but owning a home is still strange. My blackness makes strange tools for a living, rakes the strangeness like dirt. I like to rake my hands over merchandise: bayberry votives, English hyssop in crisp sachets. I like this Engraved Pewter Bookmark so much suddenly I line up for it, clenching my upright fist. I pay cash to prove myself no shoplifter. Still, I abscond with my black feelings: crisp toast points dunked in fig jam. On one hand, I must think very highly of myself to come here. Then again, that sounds like something I would say. "Message from the Free Smiths of Louisa County" We weren't truly free until we read the Amendment ourselves all the way to Lincoln's signature, dark vines gathering over the page. A. Lincoln said we should go forth, leaving bondage forever but we weren't truly free until we signed our own names & read them back to ourselves. Our names, not our marks dark vines gathered at X . Lincoln's signature looked so calm, a brown river of stones worn smooth with patience. We had no time to catch up. We weren't truly free until we'd scaled the high turret of B or unlatched the strap where H buckles itself. Still, it took years to reach Lincoln's signature, dark vines gathering. Our jagged serifs serrated the pages we signed. We wrote out our wills. You write poems about Lincoln, dark little vines of until . But we weren't truly free. Read the amendment. Excerpted from White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia by Kiki Petrosino All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.