Maria Dikcis, Northwestern University | Newberry

Maria Dikcis, Northwestern University

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

5:30 to 7pm

Center for American History and Culture Programs
American Literature Seminar

Please Stay Tuned: The Televisual Poetics of Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric

This paper considers Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric (2004) and its adoption of a “televisual poetics.” I propose that Rankine’s text rethinks significant aspects of poetic materiality (its typography, language, arrangement on the page), the nature of poetic feeling (its affects), and the structure of poetic address (its communicative situation) through the pervasive staging of the television set as figure, scheme, and interlocutor in the classic I-Thou structure of the lyric. By centering an African-American speaker as a sort of universal subject of encounters with media, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely reveals how difference understood as a socio-racial formation becomes a key threshold of dissonance experienced by all viewers of television.

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Newberry Scholarly Seminars are pre-circulated. For a copy of the paper, email Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.