A Ligature for Black Bodies
I read Denise Miller's Ligature for Black Bodies months before the Black Lives Matter protests erupted in the US. With the noose as a framing device, the book exerts the force of witness, from “born brown then picnic blackened” to its last chilling sentence: “He was breathing.” Its eerie timeliness is striking, though sadly not prescient, since the issue of racial disparity has ground on with an unbearable cyclical quality for centuries. Police cams recordings and the self-incriminating testimony of the killers of so many innocent black Americans burn through the centre of the book, clear evidence of the urgent need for social justice. Even the media's culpability is noted, even the reader's, who cannot turns the pages without being a voyeur to such terrors, as if viewing the racist postcards still sold by white supremacists today. For the most part wrought out of found material interrogated by audacious yet formally expert poems, Ligature for Black Bodies portends and portends.'