Marcus Wicker. Mariner, $15.99 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-328-71554-8
Wicker, a National Poetry Series winner for Maybe the Saddest Thing, examines middle-class black American respectability politics in his second collection, taking aim at those who “gave up on the moon/ for a tweed suit &/ elbow patches” and engaging in an uncompromising self-interrogation. Disquieting humor abounds as the tensions of cultural and class assimilation are skillfully outlined in “Watch Us Elocute” or “Close Encounters,” which depict what “happens in gated spaces when you look like// a lock pick.” Stylistically, it’s Kendrick Lamar meets Marianne Moore; Wicker employs deft musicality and visceral metaphors to contrast American suburbia’s ideals with news of “the Rorschach splotches/ of cop-shot bodies you must stomach.” Wicker’s boldest gesture may be his unapologetic theological stance as he seeks to follow a “path to righteousness gone cold.” Deeply felt spiritual conflict in pastoral explorations such as “Deer Ode, Tangled & Horned” (“paradise/ or purgatory, depending/ on how I decipher my scripture”) contrast with the swagger of such pieces as “Ars Poetica Battle Rhyme for Sucker Emcees”: “I be the Anti-wack/ ODB. Big Baby Jesus,/ Osiris. Bet your wife/ might like it.” These fiercely lyrical narratives stand in the crosshairs of the political moment. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/21/2017
Release date: 09/05/2017
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 80 pages - 978-1-328-71558-6
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