The book, ‘Citizen,’ begins with daily encounters, little moments, places where language reveals how racism determines how we interact.
The American imagination has never been able to fully recover from its white-supremacist beginnings.
I don’t write every day. I write when I want to write.
If the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights movement made demands that altered the course of American lives and backed up those demands with the willingness to give up your life in service of your civil rights, with Black Lives Matter, a more internalized change is being asked for: recognition.
A lot of people feel that the realm of poetry and the realm of the lyric is personal feeling and should rise above politics, which, in fact, good poetry has never done.
You don’t become a poet if you want to make any money.
Unlike earlier black-power movements that tried to fight or segregate for self-preservation, Black Lives Matter aligns with the dead, continues the mourning, and refuses the forgetting in front of all of us.
When you are alone and too tired even to turn on any of your devices, you let yourself linger in a past stacked among your pillows.
When you’re writing, you think: How does intimacy happen in the work? You don’t know who your reader is, woman, man, child, black person, Asian, who knows?
There are two worlds out there – two Americas out there. If you’re a white person, there’s one way of being a citizen in our country, and if you’re a brown or a black body, there’s another way of being a citizen, and that way is very close to death. It’s very close to the loss of your life.