Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era is an edited collection of critical essays and poetry that investigates contemporary elegy within the black diaspora. Scores of contemporary writers have turned to elegiac poetry and prose in order to militate against the white supremacist logic that has led to recent deaths of unarmed black men, women, and children. This volume combines scholarly and creative understandings of the elegy in order to discern how mourning feeds our political awareness in this dystopian time as writers attempt to see, hear, and say something in relation to the bodies of the dead as well as to living readers. Moreover, this book provides a model for how to productively interweave theoretical and deeply personal accounts to encourage discussions about art and activism that transgress disciplinary boundaries, as well as lines of race, gender, class, and nation.

chapter Preface|8 pages

“Where Will All That Beauty Go?”

A Tribute to Poet-Scholar Tiffany Austin

part I|74 pages

Elegiac Reconfigurations

chapter 1|16 pages

Denormativizing Elegy

Historical and Transnational Journeying in the Black Lives Matter Poetics of Patricia Smith, Aja Monet, and Shane McCrae

chapter 4|13 pages

“In Terrible Fruitfulness”

Arthur Jafa's Love Is the Message, The Message Is Death and the Not-Lost Southern Accent

part II|76 pages

Hauntings and Reckonings

chapter 6|17 pages

Anatomizing the Body, Diagnosing the Country

Reading the Elegies of Patricia Smith

chapter 7|16 pages

“A Diagnosis Is an Ending”

Spectacle and Vision in Bettina Judd's Patient. 1

part III|64 pages

Elegists as Activists

chapter 8|15 pages

“A Cause Divinely Spun”

The Poet in an Age of Social Unrest

chapter 9|16 pages

Edwidge Danticat's Elegiac Project

A Transnational Historiography of U.S. Imperialist State Violence

chapter 10|13 pages

Loving you Is Complicated

Empire of Language #4

part III|11 pages

Elegists as Activists: Coda