Lyric poetry, in its most accessible description as a genre, is experienced between the recognizable formal attributes of a speaker and the social structures wherein speaking elicits meaning. In this essay, I focus on Claudia Rankine’s Citizen and the intimate-public speech acts through which a lyric demonstration and critical function emerge. Principally, this essay interrogates the “character” and “event” of American personhood and seeks to understand Rankine’s work between the pessimism of alienation and the shared care articulated in Stefano Harney and Fred Moten’s theorization of an “undercommons.” Looking at how lyric practice encompasses address as redress, however, requires more of an explanation than the referential narratives of who “we” are or the singular contact of interpellative experiences with lived life. Therefore, this article also draws on the work of Calvin Warren and other contemporary critics in interrogating lyric redress as multiscalar and figurative speech acts in this regard of an American chiasmus, America as a unified voice.
Alvergue, José Felipe
"Lyric Redress: The Racial Politics of Voice and American Personhood,"
Criticism: Vol. 60:
2, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/criticism/vol60/iss2/5