Here is the beginning poem from Evie Shockley's semiautomatic, a collection that uses formally innovative strategies and tradition (including the blues) with glee and ferocity to lift up black experience and give testimony to the violence against black lives and black bodies.
In her book of criticism Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry, Shockley writes, "I propose that we think of not a black aesthetic' or the Black Aesthetic, but of "black aesthetics," plural: a multifarious, contingent, nondelimited complex of strategies that African American writers may use to negotiate gaps or conflicts between their artistic goals and the operation of race in the production, dissemination, and reception of their writing."
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