American Anger: An Evidentiary

H.L. Hix. Etruscan (Consortium, dist.), $19 trade paper (216p) ISBN 978-0-9897532-4-1
The latest from the prolific Hix (I’m Here to Dream in Your Language) is nothing if not unified: eight parts, each with many short segments in prose and verse, examine the word and the idea of anger, from the wrath of Achilles in the Iliad to America’s current war on terror, domestic violence reports, psychological jargon, and—especially—gun violence. Hix’s talent for meter shines in many sonnets and curtailed sonnets, which take in measured sullenness, self-accusation, and full-throated outrage: “how angry/ I am at those angrier than me.” One part of the book compiles quotations about rage, righteous and otherwise, many of them translated from classical Greek. Other parts (penned by Hix himself) favor harsh irony: “If you’re going to be angry,/ be white, not black or brown.” Readers familiar with recent protest movements will notice several pieces titled “About the Author,” all of which register discontent with Wyoming and its university, where Hix teaches—its “mascot is the cowboy,” and its “business school has adopted as its official creed ‘The Code of the West,’ a bullet-point homage to cowboy movies, in a state vast portions of which are American Indian reservations.” Hix’s book-length project joins other recent volumes in its corrosive anguish about a society both unequal and heavily armed. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/18/2016
Release date: 02/01/2016
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