Who Will Speak for America?
Edited by Stephanie Feldman and Nathaniel Popkin. Temple Univ., $19.95 trade paper (238p) ISBN 978-1-4399-1624-7
This collection of political poetry and prose presents a wide and well-selected array of moderate, progressive, and radical voices united in opposition to Donald Trump’s presidency, including such noted authors as Melissa Febos, Carmen Maria Machado, and Eileen Myles. As a “preamble” to the collection, Myles provides a prose piece entitled “Acceptance Speech (Nov 6, 2016)” that names various challenges facing Americans, such as white supremacy and homelessness, while imagining an alternate reality in which these problems are addressed. Machado’s poem “How I Should Have Known Trump Would Be Elected President” is a powerful and succinct reflection on encountering racism and homophobia, such as when “I was sitting in a quiet car with my mother and two of her sisters, and one of them said, ‘I just don’t believe in gay people,’ and I laughed, startled.” The selections vary in tone, ranging from Febos’s conciliatory essay “Teaching After Trump,” on reaching out to Trump-leaning students, to Craig Santos Perez’s fiery poem “America” (“America when will you be democratic/ When will you take down both your racist flags?”). Thanks to this variety, the collection should appeal to an equally wide range of readers who share the authors’ opposition to the 45th president. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/04/2018