by Jae, August 16, 2010 12:09 PM
It's difficult to say which genre best fits Claudia Rankine's explosive fourth book, Don't Let Me Be Lonely, so instead I'll say it is poem/essay/many-headed hydra. Narrated by a stricken, channel-surfing "I" and accompanied by images as disparate as video stills from Herzog's Fitzcarraldo as well as from the murder case of Amadou Diallo, it is also poem as evening news, and poem as Eisensteinian montage in which "each sequential element is perceived not next to the other, but on top of the other." These stacking worlds create the odd, mesmerizing gulf from which Rankine writes, one in which anxiety, grief, and footnote are the only constants. Challenging, startling, and moving, this project is one of the first that has actually spoken to me in its address of the sociopolitical, schizophrenic times in which we live.