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Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good*

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Book Overview

In this powerful sequence of TV images and essay, Claudia Rankine explores the personal and political unrest of our volatile new century I forget things too. It makes me sad. Or it makesme the... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings


This is as good a book of poetry as I've read in the last year. Rankine uses the prose-poem format and scatters images around the book, which I find entertains and lends itself to a certain philosophy-driven format that I like. The poetic buried in the prosaic seems to be a good way to say it. Either way, this book is 130 pages, impossibly long for most books of poetry. If this were any other style, I would have tired of it quickly, but I finished it in a few days.

A necessary book

This is one of the books that defines our times. Greatly humourous and pleasantly dark in that ache to release you into the way you know personally, it's a book that comes to us and makes us say "oh, yes, that's it, exactly"--Personal, political, TV culture, taking lunch with a friend, reading a book, sitting up nights with insomnia, reaching out or wanting to learn to again reach out through the divides that silence us, bar us within our American apartments, border us inside of our familiar yet often dreary patterns, make us wary of change, exception, risk, thus creating risk, enmity, division and the loneliness we are so wanting not to face. Rankine's deftly-written prose-poem-political-poetics-essay collection challenges notions of poem, of self, of genres, of culture as she embodies in these smartly written sections through her mobile pronoun use, her pop culture references, her reflections on self and other, the way we need to put out a hand and take the risk of reaching towards another even before they reach out to us: before being loved, to love. How necessary! I simply want to thank her for reminding me of this as I go back and back and back into these pages, always finding more there, deeper.

Don't Let Me Be Lonely is an excellent book!!!

This book is a wonderful example of truth in creative writing. I love how personal it is and how wonderfully the personality of the author comes through every page. I highly recommend this book to anyone, it's not like anything I've read before.

America in All Its Lyrical Truth

Image and word shape a unique poetry collection that only Rankine can deliver. The shape of this book initially drew my attention. However, I was not necessarily attracted to the book's front cover. Nevertheless, the selected photographs throughout the collection fit perfectly with the political nature of some of the poems. The book itself has no index, thus making the entire structure of the book unconventional, a word describing Rankine's vision of America in all its "darkness." I would like to believe that the author intended for readers to read all of the poems as one (considering that there is no index), thus making a linear reading mandatory. However, I read pieces of some of the poems, especially the lists, without specific care. The photographs grabbed me by the throat. For example, the photograph accompanying the poem on page 117 shocked me. Nelson Mandela wears an "HIV Positive" shirt. The image made me think about the labels used in reference to HIV/AIDS. His smile and the two words, printed on his shirt, spoke loud. I would like to believe that each of the poems reshapes the way we see paragraph form. The use of illustrations and lists disrupt the linear or "organized" way in reading these prose poems. As reader, I find myself conflicted by reading these poems. I am lost in a sense and I want that completion to be there in my whole/complete/unified reading. The poems on page 99 and 100, for example, create that tension. Thus, the use of dialogue, lines, prose pieces and images create a cross-flow of interventions, which I read as subversive. I love this poetry collection because it has given me the courage to experiment more with my prose poetry. I also love it because it uses images to radically critique and, perhaps, heal. What I find most interesting is the theme that image marks memory. Almost all of our senses are called to the surface here. I am drawn to the way in which the poems make me think about many issues buried in the psyche. For example, the poem about Princess Diana made me think about scratching the surface of (an apparent) "universal" mourning and sense of loss. The poem on page 83 made a difference in terms of the law/Law and who protects us from terror/crime. Plus, it made me think about the who in that "us" equation. In sum, Rankine speaks from a range of mediums that speak her poetry. They speak her voice. They shape her vision. Thus, is the brilliance of this poetry collection. This collections is ideal for courses in Women's Studies, Feminist Studies, Ethnic Studies, Literary Studies, especially Graduate Studies in Poetry.

Very moving

I just got this book on a friend's recommendation and thought that I would glance through it before going to sleep but I couldn't put it down. I ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting and can't wait to go through it again. It is so beautifully written and complex and moving. It is not like a typical poety book in that it is structured more like essays but the essays blend together and fold into one another. It is like poetry in that the choice of words and phrases makes the work very emotionally charged and, well, I know this is a corny word, but I would say profound. It really is a work of art.
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