Anodyne

Khadijah Queen. Tin House, $15.95 ISBN 978-1-947793-80-4
In the formally adventurous fifth collection from Queen (Non-Sequitur), poetry serves as a space for dialogue and investigation about disparate ways of seeing the world. Juxtaposing the quotidian and the extraordinary, the joyful and the violent, and philosophy with the tangibles of lived experience, Queen’s poetics invite wild revisions of artistic tradition: “You feel the sun of unknown experiments,” her speaker warns the reader. The poems in this accomplished volume suggest that limitations in thinking begin in language: “The violence of language in every space/ I enter... I think I am losing everything but my mind.” For Queen, the possibility of social justice begins in language, which she frames as the very foundation of the social order: “Her mother had vision/ & the power in a Black woman’s name/ saves us all.” Like much of the collection, this passage memorably considers the various judgments implicit in language and speech. While maintaining a purposeful relationship between experimental style and socially engaged, lyrical writing, Queen’s collection reads as a testament to the power of poetry to raise awareness and shape the world. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/10/2020
Release date: 08/18/2020
Genre: Poetry
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