THE BOOK: American Anger
PUBLISHED IN: 2016
THE AUTHOR: H. L. Hix
THE EDITOR: Philip Brady
THE PUBLISHER: Etruscan Press
SUMMARY: American Anger is an “evidentiary.” As a “documentary” assembles documents, so American Anger assembles evidences — found poems, testimonies, narratives, statistics, translations of short topical excerpts from classical literature, and so on — to bring “American anger” to light. “Evidence” derives from the Latin videre, to see; and seeing, of course, is the aim of bringing to light. Early in the U.S. Declaration of Independence a set of truths is declared to be “self-evident,” and in the document’s last sentence the signers invoke “the protection of Divine Providence.” Both formulations depend on derivatives of videre (evident, Providence), but both displace responsibility. In thus refusing to accept bringing to light as its own task (rather than God’s), and as an ongoing task (rather than one always already complete), the seeds of American anger were sown at its founding. Rather than accepting the assumption of self-evidence (already-brought-to-light-ness) or of Providence (seen-by-God-ness) American Anger will seek to participate in the perpetual task of bringing to light, which we shirk at our peril.
THE BACK STORY: This book started as a series of “found poems”: portions of documents related to moments of American aggression or violence (Salem witch trials, Sand Creek massacre, WWII internment camps, and so on). The editor found them “heavy-handed,” so they disappeared into the background, and the further research they prompted became the book’s focus.
WHY THIS TITLE: It seemed inevitable! It simply names the subject.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: This is a period of very visible anger in American public life. American Anger tries to ask where that anger comes from, what it has to do with our history, and our future. Whatever a reader’s political views (whatever that reader is angry about!), it is worth contextualizing them, and that is what American Anger tries to do.
Craig Morgan Teicher: NPR.org: “In a Dark Time, the Eye Begins to See: A 2016 Poetry Preview”:
“If there was ever a time for this book, it is now. Herein, H.L. Hix, a prolific wellspring, froths, rages, boils over. Gathering snippets of speech, turning anxiety into aphorism, Hix probes the reasoning behind gun ownership (“A gun in the hand is worth two in the Walmart”), the meaning of a clenched fist (“Every little fit helps. Every puncture tells a story.”), and the great cost of repression: “I was told plenty often I couldn’t be angry./ Who was there to tell me I could?” This is a big book, with poems of many kinds, including sonnets, narratives, villanelles and pages “intentionally left passive-aggressive.” Hix doesn’t speak for or against anything so much as out of America’s climate of rage, as though channeling raw feeling itself. It’s a disturbingly accurate take on current events. Unless you are made of stone, you will find, in these troubled and troubling times, some of your heart echoed here.” http://www.npr.org/2016/01/03/461504550/in-a-dark-time-the-eye-begins-to-see-a-2016-poetry-preview
AUTHOR PROFILE: H. L. Hix teaches philosophy and creative writing at a university in the Mountain West. He lives with the poet Kate Northrop, and writes in a studio that was once a barn. He writes early in the morning, when he can hear the mice at their work in the walls, and raccoons sauntering across the roof.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: I didn’t MEAN to predict the outcome of the 2016 election!
SAMPLE CHAPTER: http://internationaltimes.it/american-anger/
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: firstname.lastname@example.org