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Made to Explode
Made to Explode by Sandra Beasley
by Sandra Beasley


 
Hardback.
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New York, NY: Norton (February 2021)

Hardback.

As new in dust jacket.

With lacerating honesty, technical mastery, and abiding compassion, Made to Explode offers volatile poems for our volatile times.

In her fourth collection, acclaimed poet Sandra Beasley interrogates the landscapes of her life in decisive, fearless, and precise poems that fuse intimacy and intensity. She probes memories of growing up in Virginia, in Thomas Jefferson’s shadow, where liberal affluence obscured and perpetuated racist aggressions, but where the poet was simultaneously steeped in the cultural traditions of the American South. Her home in Washington, DC, inspires prose poems documenting and critiquing our capital’s institutions and monuments.

In these poems, Ruth Bader Ginsberg shows up at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre’s show of Kiss Me Kate; Albert Einstein is memorialized on Constitution Avenue, yet was denied clearance for the Manhattan Project; as temperatures cool, a rain of spiders drops from the dome of the Jefferson Memorial. A stirring suite explores Beasley’s affiliation with the disability community and her frustration with the ways society codes disability as inferiority.

Quintessentially American and painfully timely, these poems examine legacies of racism and whiteness, the shadow of monuments to a world we are unmaking, and the privileges the poet is working to untangle. Made to Explode boldly reckons with Beasley’s roots and seeks out resonance in society writ large.

Sandra Beasley is the author of three previous poetry collections-including I Was the Jukebox, winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize-and one memoir. The recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, she lives in Washington, DC.

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