Kylan Rice
Lyric Concord: On Political Poetry

The Sound of Listening: Poetry as Refuge and Resistance, by Philip Metres. University of Michigan Press, 216 pp., $29.95.
Someone Shot My Book, by Julie Carr. University of Michigan Press, 194 pp., $29.95.
Ecstatic Emigre: An Ethics of Practice, by Claudia Keelan, University of Michigan Press, 178 pp., $29.95.
The Little Death of Self: Nine Essays Toward Poetry, by Marianne Boruch. University of Michigan Press, 190 pp., $29.95.
Resident Alien: On Border-crossing and the Undocumented Divine, by Kazim Ali. University of Michigan Press, 204 pp., $32.95

A grape in autumn in a poem has a political function. Let’s say it is a dust-blue Concord grape, a variant cultivated by a Massachusetts goldbeater not far from the hill that saw the first musket-fire of the Revolutionary War, where it was bred to survive the harsh New England winters. “In autumn,” Wallace Stevens writes in his poem “A Postcard from the Volcano,” “the grapes / made sharp air sharper by their smell.” The description is not political in its content, but in its physiological effect. In a lecture called “On Description,” posted to YouTube in 2014, the poet Jorie Graham offers a reading of these two lines by Stevens as evidence of poetry’s ability to go beneath “deeply solitary psychological subjectivity” (or what T.S. Eliot referred to as “personality” when he wrote of poetry’s mandate to transcend the poet’s personality) to arrive at “a profoundly communal, physical,” even “physiological,” subjectivity. Graham wants her audience to understand that the “subjectivity” at stake in a lyric poem does not warrant the usual distrust leveled at the “personal,” which is “socially constructed” and “partial.” Instead, she intends to demonstrate “how such a subjective point actually represents a radically trustworthy level of objectivity,” where objectivity corresponds to the “communal and communitarian”—a shared sense of reality.

For Graham, the lines by Stevens invite the reader into a shared physiological experience, where the intensification of clarity (“sharp” to “sharper”)—its spatial narrowing from the open, undifferentiated, borderlessness of air to the bound, taut roundness of an autumn grape—is an image that has to be taken in “through your nose.” The poignancy of Stevens’ formulation activates “the sense of memory which your olfactory apparatus has in place,” and in so doing creates an intersubjective or sharable experience at the crossing of poetry and individual anatomy. A poem produces an intense feeling that calls upon its reader’s sensorium. That the poem can be circulated and read by many, paired with the fact that its sensory information stems from its writer’s lived experiences (in this case Stevens’ very sinuses), means that it mediates a relationship between bodies—which is, in broad terms, might also be to say that it serves a political function.

In its intensification of experience, in its sharpening that is also a sharing, poetry becomes political—but what is gained (and what is lost) by claiming aesthetics (as aesthesis, or sense experience) for politics? And does such a claim inadvertently undermine poetry that explicitly defines itself in terms of social engagement and the political—say, the work of Adrienne Rich, Amiri Baraka, Claudia Rankine, or June Jordan, among many others? On the other hand, perhaps any poem written after the nineteenth century, the heyday of poetry as a real political force—as evinced, for example, by the close linkages between Romanticism and Europe’s revolutionary imagination, or in abolitionist agitations in the United States—; perhaps any modern poem must confront W.H. Auden’s declaration that “poetry makes nothing happen.” If Auden’s sentiment holds true, that poetry stays bracketed off from “happenings,” the ongoing contents and day-to-day moving and shaking that constitutes reality, how can a poet hope to enter the polis and make a political difference? And besides, isn’t poetry (especially after modernism) also an infamously private, even an obscure and esoteric genre, in-speak and little-language par excellence, intimate array between a lyric I and You? In five recent books in the “Poets on Poetry Series” from the University of Michigan Press, Kazim Ali, Marianne Boruch, Julie Carr, Claudia Keelan, and Philip Metres each grapple differently to form responses to these questions. These poets respond to the political events of the last five years by meditating on the public, civil, social, and interpersonal lives of poems. Taken together as articulating an activist poetics, each writer helps to redefine the political and reimagine the social work of all poetry as a something-happening.

What Ali, Boruch, Carr, Keelan, and Metres share is a sense of how poetry’s aesthetic intimacies and intensities have activating, political potential. For their part, Boruch, Carr, and Keelan pull on the Romantic tradition to explore how poetry can be used to transcend (or, in Graham’s terms, to descend below) subjectivity and arrive at an intersubjective condition that they tie to the vitality of healthy communities and just polities. They harness the energy of Romanticism’s highly politicized, utopian and revolutionary ambitions, plus its aesthetic emphasis on affective intensity, while adapting this potent package for everyday contemporary use. A return to Romantic cultural technique is well-timed, since it offers those on the left a literary-historical model for mobilizing their own politics of emotion—a politics of revolution, ebullient resistance, and utopia—to counter the visceral politics of anger, fear, and energizing hate promoted by some on the global right. For better or worse, spectacle and story and the gut reactions that attend them play an important role in the political arena today. Some of my smart, unaffiliated friends have observed that the right’s success (as expressed by the global rise of populism, or the creepy advent of alt-right internet culture) is due to the fact that they just seem to be “having more fun”—even if it is often “fun” at the expense of minority groups or the historically oppressed. I believe that what my friends mean is that some of the momentum enjoyed by the political right seems fueled by emotional extremes appealing at a physiological level that sometimes manifests as violence (see the recent spike in white nationalist terrorism).

Many Romantic writers, who promoted feeling and intense subjective experience over the rationalism of the enlightenment, were radically affected by the French revolution, which William Davies of The Guardian has recently used as a historical reference-point to discuss the new role that emotion plays in the global right-wing populist uprising, figured most prominently by the Trump administration, Brexit, and surges in nationalist and anti-immigration parties across Europe. Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century political theory sought to quarantine public discourse from contagious pathologies of emotion and violent physical instinct, but “at the height of the Enlightenment, as reason appeared to be triumphing once and for all, the French revolution demonstrated the immense military power that could be unleashed by popular sentiment,” which is to say the mobilization of feelings and visceral response on a massive scale. In “Donald Trump and the Politics of Emotion,” Edward Sugden describes the “shared moods” and “mass displays of orchestrated emotion” that similarly define populist politics, as well as Trump’s presidency and election campaign. He, as well as Davies, point out that the political left needs to adapt to these new realities of politics as pathos, recognizing that it, too, “has access to a set of positive emotions that the right does not: optimism over fear, love over hate, care over callousness and tolerance over hatred.” In other words, the left has in its emotional arsenal appeals to utopia and the hopeful, idealistic revolutionary spirit that so fired Romantic poets and philosophers like Shelley, Byron, Goethe, Kant, and Hegel. If poems really work as diagrammed by Graham and the five writers covered by this review—if they activate, through language, physiological intensities that conspire into a grassroots intimacy whose lyric couplings build out into communities—then maybe poetry makes something happen after all.

But to return to one of my original questions: Is it too much to say that all poetry political, or does a poem only have a political valence if it directly thematizes issues that feature in a newspaper? Arguing that lyric poetry has always had a “political calling,” Claudia Keelan cites the English Romantics: “William Blake overtly attacked political institutions, William Wordsworth insisted on writing in the language of real men, Percy Bysshe Shelley claimed the poet as legislator of the universe, and John Keats’s notion of negative capability summoned forms of humanism and inhumanism in endless postponement of self for the possibilities of the world and poem that might arise from such postponement.” Expanding elsewhere on her reading of Keats, Keelan describes the Romantic poet’s “notion of negative capability” and its “negation of selfhood that would bring him closer to the whole” as a “via negativa” also informing “the civil disobedience movements of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin King and…their efforts to destabilize the status quo.” What Keats, King, Gandhi, and others like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Simone Weil all have in common is their “utopian idealism,” which hinges on a “reciprocity between self and other, …the erasure of the distance between self and other.”  When Keelan argues that “diaspora must be ensured so community is living, evolving,” she means that psychic diaspora, or “ecstasy”—the negation of self as promoted by Romantic theories of poetry—creates a subjective vacuum or u-topia (a “no-place,” figured throughout Ecstatic Emigre as the Las Vegas desert) that makes the intersubjective foundations of community, and thus a politics, possible. Channeling Keats’s “Ode on Melancholy,” then, every poem is a grape whose tasting—burst “against [the] palate fine”—culminates in a self-evacuation, an oblivion, a “Lethe” met by a new inrush from without, an inter-venous concord.

The connections that Keelan draws between utopia, diaspora, self-negation, intersubjectivity and community also show up in The Little Death of Self, Someone Shot my Book, and Resident Alien by Boruch, Carr, and Ali. For her part, Boruch also relies on Keats to articulate some of her key insights, which, like Keelan’s, are framed by meditations on the possibilities of winnowing or negating lyric self as a way of catalyzing self-other conjunctions and the communities into which they ultimately build. But Boruch, like Carr, takes issue with some contemporary poetry’s uncareful, totalizing attempts to “discredit or fracture, even rub out forever” the lyric subject with its reliance on the “sentimental” partialities of “genuinely lived experience.” In a review of Someone Shot My Book for Jacket2, I discuss how Carr reboots sentimentalism as a viable literary mode by pushing back against avant-garde attitudes that define themselves “against expression” and against subjective, corporeal “models of identity,” arguing instead that a poem functions as “generator of empathy” or shared affect that can be used as a political tool. Likewise, in response to the widespread desire among contemporary poets to “kill the I” in a poem, Boruch protests: “Lived experience does matter. Someone writes these things. Because poetry’s long tradition is a full-body-press on that voice to make it personal. Can we ever get away from that? An expectation of intimacy comes through the direct use of I, the first-person pronoun, or it’s implied through language.” Of the intimations voiced by the “I” of lived experience, Boruch writes, “It’s impossible…to overestimate the importance of such a voice, how it carries authority partly because of its vulnerability, how it rises and falls and thus gets our attention. Because of it things do change, as Stevens advised.” For both Boruch and Keelan, the lyric self serves an important function: to provide the basis or starting point for changeful ecstasy, for stepping outside the self.

Indeed, the lyric poem’s voice, the “personal,” appears to speak out precisely at the instant of ecstasy:

That must be the heart of this anxiety about ‘killing the I,’ how to find footing as the maker of the poem without seeming to exactly, to let thought and experience rise from a personal grounding, up the most interior passages of the body until there’s a voice—credible, human, as transparent as possible—that might be a conduit.

This shared “conduit” is a function of the singularity of lyric witness, the speaker who “gives us a place to be in the poem.” Here Boruch cites Keats and Stevens, who, though they agree that ultimately “poetry is not personal,” also observe that “a poet confers his identity on the reader,” which Stevens, perhaps with reference to Freud’s theory of intersubjectivity as it takes place during psychoanalysis, called “a transference.” In a poem, there is a personal starting point, with communion as its telos. Pulling on Stevens’s additional sense that “poets acquire humanity,” Boruch calls this acquisition “viral…, a good virus,” which calls to mind and seems to contradict an earlier essay in which she characterized poetry as a diagnostic tool. Diagnosis provides a useful frame for questioning the idea that poetry has a therapeutic purpose. As diagnosis, poetry “takes no responsibility to fix a damn thing…, which is to say, literature is no treatment as such.” What makes poetry diagnostic is that it’s “just saying.” Gesturing toward Keats and Williams as doctor-poets, Boruch insists that what poetry as attentive diagnosis reveals is pattern, new detail. And with new detail—with “an image or shift of voice derailing intention, throwing out the self-absorbed, the cloying and staid, the kneejerk said-a-zillion-times-until-it-means-nothing”—“life becomes possible.” More accurately, perhaps: after a diagnosis, which arcs toward prognosis, the former’s “possible due course,” life becomes possible again. Once a detail, diagnostically discovered, gets written down and enters public circulation, Boruch declares: “It’s no longer personal, it’s huge.” What she means is that the diagnostic ability to attend closely to a body, to a life in all its particularity, and say what is there without recourse to trope or convention depends on an observational apparatus, a subject’s speculum / speculation, which sensitizes us to a reality that has always been there, objective but inarticulate.

For Boruch, poetry is both diagnosis and virus, the viral a vector whose magnitude or hugeness begins at the individual person and spreads into a community: as it articulates what is there that has gone unsaid the poem passes along or splices fragments of the poet’s viral identity or humanity among the nucleic acids of other readers’ bodied minds. Life becomes possible again as a life indissolubly shared.

Of the five poets considered here, Boruch is perhaps the least explicitly “political,” though she does describe any treasuring up of lyric voice, with its attendant interpersonal possibilities, as a “political act.” But her emphasis on the intimacy, viral transference, and change unlocked when a poem is made (its making-happen) are comparable to the more emphatically political and activist poetics articulated by the four other writers. To scrutinize the political through the lens of poetry obliges us to revise our genealogy, and so, too, our definition of the political: any revolutionary (which is to say progressive, liberatory) politics begins as a micro-politics, at a hyper-local level, in the encounter between self and other staged by the poem. For Boruch, the political begins at the locality of the personal voice as emergent conduit; for Carr in the household and the utopia of the radical present; for Keelan at the site of encounter between the self and the other; and for Ali with the “individual human body,” vulnerable to the state, but real and really endowed with “infinite kindnesses, loves, and indeed, joys” in a way that the nation as an abstraction, often a repressive, exclusionary one, never can be. Metres, for his part, compares poetry to “grassroots activism,” in that poetry and “the arts are part of the technologies of consciousness-change—often solitary, occasionally communal—but their work is mostly unseen.” “Poetry may not stop tanks or drone attacks,” but it can “expand consciousness” and “invite us to change.” In other words, poetry accomplishes its “change” at the level of solitary, individual consciousness, or at the grassroots, foresting up into the cultural superstructure in ways that can’t necessarily be measured or tracked.

In contrast with Boruch, and more than any of our four other poets, Metres has the most to say about “political poetry” as it is perhaps traditionally conceived, as direct engagement with general political issues and themes—which is why he spends a good portion of his book addressing ways to remedy the fact that poetry often fails to communicate to an uninitiated public audience. In other words, poetry often fails to be of the polis. In an essay on documentary or “social poetics,” Metres praises the poet Mark Nowak for his work “rethinking what audience actually might mean”:

After seeing his first book receive attention only from poets, [Nowak] went about “consciously attempt[ing] to construct a new audience, a new social space, for the potential reception of [his] work and other new works that might emerge in this vein.” One poem, the verse play “Francine Michalek Drives Bread,” Nowak recounts, “premiered at UAW Local 879 union hall across the street from the Ford plant in St. Paul. The audience, uniquely, was split half-and-half between people from the literary community (and those split evenly among poetry and theater people) and workers from the Ford plant, along with activists from various unions.”

At the same time as he made his poetry more accessible and geared toward audiences outside the world of poetry, “Nowak’s poetic trajectory has moved from the lyric … to the narrative, polyvocal, intertextual, and multimedia.” Comparatively, in his own attempt to create a meaningful poetic experience for non-poets when invited by the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee to give a reading at the organization’s annual meeting, Metres sought to dismantle the “static Poet as Authority and Audience as Passive Recipient” model of the average poetry reading, and instead “came up with a writing exercise that would produce a co-authored ‘chorale,’ a collective poem that would reflect both the diversity of experiences and viewpoints of the participants, as well as their unity in resisting war and working for a more just and peaceful world.” Here, Nowak and Metres offer concrete examples of what Julie Carr and Jeffrey C. Robinson describe in their essay anthology Active Romanticism: The Radical Impulse in Nineteenth-Century and Contemporary Poetic Practice. In the introduction to their collection, Carr and Robinson argue that for “active” Romanticists, both historically and in contemporary contexts, “the poet is not a figure of fundamental autonomy, as mainstream criticism and the popular imagination would have it, with a reflective and meditative independence from events and persons, but is one who powerfully asserts conscious social agency, who participates in the world and disperses himself or herself in it, reacts to it, re-envisions it, intervenes in its affairs, and innovates.” When Metres relinquishes poetic autonomy in service of the needs of an audience, much as when Keats opens himself up in passive ecstasy to the outside world, he fulfills one of the prerequisites of active romanticism. Of course, by saying so, I do not mean to co-opt Metres for a Western poetic project when all throughout The Sound of Listening he so assiduously promotes a counter-canon of Arab-American poets. Instead, I only mean to point out the similarities he shares with Boruch, Carr, and Keelan, who elect to affinities with a Romantic lineage and explore its activist potential. 

In describing “active Romanticism,” Carr and Robinson articulate what Keelan and Kazim Ali describe as “ecstasy,” “from the Old French extasie, via Latin via Greek ecstasies, ‘standing outside oneself’ (Keelan)”: “Romantic (or contemporary) avant-gardes” do not turn away from the self, but instead “dramatically complicate it …The mind in active Romanticism has meaning only when it acknowledges, responds to, and attempts to intervene in something outside the self” (Carr and Robinson). Just so, in an essay accounting for the similarities between yoga and poetry, Ali writes:

Broumas taught us about ‘ecstasy’: in the original meaning of that word, to be ‘standing outside’ one’s self—to literally lose one’s identity, but to do this by releasing attachment to the individual ego, release selfish attachment to only the world one perceives, and attach again to a larger spirit, attach to the universal world exactly how it truly exists beyond individual perception. Tell me again how easy it is to see yoga and meditation practice as a metaphor for your writing of poems?

For Boruch, too, poetry is not written to “find our selves,” but instead “to lose the self, to make room for something else,” which is “how poets get larger, how they can use the first person more as catapult than simply as an exhaustive limiting zoom lens on their life-so-far.” For Keelan, poetic ecstasy involves a nomadic emigration into the u-topia, no-place / no-where, or open space between “I and You.” Despite these apparent similarities, it is worth noting that Boruch and Keelan prescribe what Ali describes as the enforced situation of an Indian-American poet, or what Metres sees as the sociopolitical status of Arab-American poets. Reflecting on his life in a hegemonic American landscape, Ali writes, “I live now nowhere … Even my own body is a space I do not own.” Marginalized by perceptions of his queerness and Indian descent, Ali describes his situation as an “international” in a permanently transitive state, one

who crosses and recrosses borders, not with allegiance or loyalty to the original idea that physical proximity or natal origin creates intrinsic physical, spiritual or emotional connection that must then be defended with steel or cash, but instead a refutation of that concept and an embrace instead of community through shared values, and an adherence to sustainable and peaceable coexistence with other communities of differing (or similar) value.

Importantly, the nomadic via negativa that Keelan discovers through poetry and activism, both informed by Romanticism, Ali lives as a result of his identity as a minority subject, and transforms into a poetics. Similarly, Metres offers an interpretation of the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s idea of “minor literature,” showing how Arab American poetry, as a literature written by a minority group, undergoes a process of “hyperpoliticization” insofar as “the minority writer constantly writes not merely for herself but for a collective whose agency is compromised by its minority status.” Again, we find that a concept earlier explored as a possibility for poetry generally—an ecstatic relationship between individuated poet and a community—turns out to be the unavoidable or given conditions of poetry written in the peripheries of hegemonic culture. Life as a minority poet in America has as a necessary consequence the so-called ecstatic states sought by poets working in the tradition of European Romanticism, though both point to poetry’s potential as an activist technology.

And yet, the problem posed by one of my earlier questions remains. Even if it is true that poetry has micropolitical potential, and even if, as our lives are increasingly implicated in geopolitical difficulties of such scale (i.e., climate change), the best response may be “rooted in the ordinary micro-practices of everyday life: simple strategies to hold, sustain and map out thresholds of sustainable transformation” (Bradiotti); even if the “micro” is the place to start, this solution doesn’t account for the fact that comparatively few people actually read or have access to poetry today—certainly not when compared to the nineteenth century, for example, when poetry enjoyed a much wider readership, and poets had cult-like followings on a massive scale that could support a living wage. In the nineteenth century, poems worked like memes, printed and reprinted in newspapers and periodicals, parodied, circulated sometimes less for their content, and more often as cultural iconography, or as a way of establishing common cultural ground and mediating relationships between people. Today, of course, we have Insta-poets—as well as, of course, and more potently, actual memes. Poetry as it is taught in schools and published by small presses and in literary journals with tiny circulations seems increasingly arcane, even obsolete when considered from a media perspective. Indeed, “traditional” poetry (experimentation with language published routinely in mainstay print and online formats) might even qualify as what Metres and Deleuze call “minor literature.” At first, such a claim looks like another attempt to appropriate a technique developed under the highly pressurized conditions of life as a minority subject. But Deleuze himself describes minor literature as a mode of writing potentially available to anyone, characterizing it any literary project that tries to tear itself away from “its own language, allowing it to challenge the language and [make] it follow a sober revolutionary path.” In describing “minor literature,” Deleuze asks a question that Claudia Keelan echoes of poetry in so many words: “How to become a nomad and an immigrant and a gypsy in relation to one’s own language?” Perhaps poetry, eclipsed by more acceptable, popular, or majoritarian forms of writing, shares in the possibilities of Deleuze’s minor literature, becoming inherently political and collective, even when an individual is speaking it. That is to say, as a result of its obscurity and marginal status, poetry is, according to Metres, “fundamentally a kind of resistance itself—anti-rhetorical, a state anterior to positing,” what Boruch would call diagnosis, or “just saying.” As such, poetry becomes “the ground of opening into the possible,” an opening that Deleuze describes, not in terms of liberation, but in terms of “escape”: “the problem is not that of being free but of finding a way out, or even a way in, another side, a hallway, an adjacency.” What Deleuze means is that minor literature creates alternatives nested within restraining hegemonic systems: subterranean pockets of transformational possibility and covert creative mobility. 

Deleuze, like the Romantics, also emphasizes the value of sheer intensity for minor literature. The endless series of protean “becomings” that make “escape” possible can also be described as “a continuum of intensities that are only valuable in themselves…, a world of pure intensities where all forms come undone, as do all the significations, signifies, and signifieds to the benefit of an unformed matter of deterritorialize flux, of nonsignifying signs.” Though Metres is careful to defend subject-centered, “mainstream modes” at the same time as he promotes the radical torque of more experimental writing as it is practiced, for example, by some Arab American writers, Deleuze’s description sounds a lot like poetry at its most subversive, where language isn’t organized to communicate logical directives, but instead to conjure intense, native experiences that obtain only in the moment of reading and writing without mimetic recourse or reference to some other, past event. The poem is an event. It is newly a part of the world, adding to its splendid, immanent array. Perhaps this is what Boruch means when she talks about poetry’s diagnostic capacity: it is oracular, an x-ray vision that sees deeply what is there as if it was something new, infusing the world as-is with fresh vitality.

The poem is an event. It is in the world as a world of pure intensities. It is the ground of opening into the possible, which is also a “refuge,” a utopia. In this way it is activist, it is political, it is a something-happening—or what one of Deleuze’s English-language translators, Brian Massumi, calls a “something-doing” in his writings on activist philosophy. Massumi pulls on Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy and American pragmatism to offer a vision of reality as active, in a constant state of unrest, turbulence, becoming and self-creation. There are no objects and subjects in this version of the world, only processes and events. To the extent that it does exist, the “subjective”—or, for our purposes, the lived-experiential dimension of the lyric “I”—is not “something preexisting to which an event occurs: it is the self-occurring form of the event.” This sentiment echoes Boruch’s sense that a poem’s subjective utterance is the precondition for its evolution into an impersonal, even choral lyric voice. In its ongoing immediacy—the poem as event, “a thought in the making [that] makes itself”—poetry as minor literature is not used to “liberate” itself and its readers, to send them beyond the event horizon of the world and its travesties; instead, it tunnels us deeper into that world, more into the midst, more integrated and sensitive to integrative possibility, diffused into the pond-mist dust that settles on the surface of a concord grape, whose smell in a poem is an intensity that binds body to body into a conspiracy, a “breathing-together.” Poetry is activist to the same degree that it is aesthetic; it is felt, it activates through feeling and affect, relation and participation. As Massumi observes, the aesthetic is political, and politics are aesthetic, as proven by the way that both contemporary and nineteenth-century politics have foregrounded feeling and shared emotion, or the physiology of aesthesis, as an important decision-making force.

Above all, for both the philosophers and the poets considered here, what poetry and politics share is a concern for change, for becoming-in-response-to the demands of a pluralistic universe. Poetry makes “social change” possible as a “medium by which individuals and communities can dialogue with each other and the world” (Metres). Or, in other words, it is thanks to the lyric voice, which descends below the poet’s personality to arrive at communal and physiological intersubjectivity, that “things do change” and the ground opens into the possible.

Works Cited

Braidiotti, Rosi. “‘Becoming-World.’” After Cosmopolitanism, edited by Rosi Braidotti et al., Routledge, 2012, pp. 8–27.

Carr, Julie, and Jeffrey Cane Robinson, editors. Active Romanticism : The Radical Impulse in Nineteenth-Century and Contemporary Poetic Practice. The University of Alabama Press, 2015.

Davies, William. “How Feelings Took over the World.” The Guardian, 8 Sept. 2018,

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. Kafka : Toward a Minor Literature. University of Minnesota Press, 1986.

Graham, Jorie. “Jorie Graham On Description.” YouTube, 24 June 2014,

Massumi, Brian. Semblance and Event : Activist Philosophy and the Occurrent Arts. MIT Press, 2011.

Sugden, Edward. “Donald Trump and the Politics of Emotion.” openDemocracy, 11 Nov. 2018,

Kylan Rice has writing published in Denver Quarterly, Kenyon Review Online, Seattle Review, West Branch, and elsewhere. He is the editor-in-chief for The Carolina Quarterly. He is pursuing a PhD in literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.