An incisive new collection of poetry on political and contemporary themes by Award-winning author Shane McCrae
'Beautifully up-to-date, old-fashioned work, where the dignity of English meters meets, as in a mosh pit, the vitality - and often the brutality - of American speech' Dan Chiasson, New Yorker
'Shane McCrae is one of our best, a great poet who mines the rhythms and vernacular of America, excavating the most exquisite of poems. His work is risky, not risque; intelligent, not clever; deep, not jocular surface play. He is sui generis' Rabih Alameddine
I'm made of murderers I'm made
Of nobodies and immigrants and the poor
and a whole / Family the mother's
liver and her lungs
In The Gilded Auction Block, the acclaimed poet Shane McCrae considers the present moment in America on its own terms as well as for what it says about the American project and Americans themselves. In the book's four sections, McCrae alternately responds directly to Donald Trump and contextualizes him historically and personally, exploding the illusions of freedom of both black and white Americans.
A moving, incisive, and frightening exploration of both the legacy and the current state of white supremacy, The Gilded Auction Block is a book about the present that reaches into the past and stretches toward the future.
Out of personal history, out of the history of an enduringly fractured nation, and out of the deep history of language, Shane McCrae is writing the most urgent, electric poems of his generation
Shane McCrae is a shrewd composer of American stories . . . He is a prospector for speech rhythms, collecting his material wherever he can. But American attics are full of old boxes of diaries and letters; and testimony, no matter how arresting, is not itself poetry. What makes McCrae's compositions so ingenious are their marvels of prosody and form, learned from the English Renaissance poems that he read in libraries when he was just starting out. The result is beautifully up-to-date, old-fashioned work, where the dignity of English meters meets, as in a mosh pit, the vitality - and often the brutality - of American speech - The New Yorker
Shane McCrae has many gifts as a poet, but among his most hypnotizing is his ability to create poems that simultaneously blare and beacon . . . McCrae has been creating ambitious work that demands - earns - our attention. I often feel out of time when I am reading his words; they arrive with a Miltonic fury, and yet they are so contemporary and critical for our present, strange world - The Millions
This sprawling yet astute collection revisits the brutal history that enabled the election of Trump . . . In McCrae's timely observations, the American Dream is an illusion that silences its victims - Publishers Weekly
His language remains as stark as the perdurable, terrible history it contains - a history that is not over yet - New York Times Book Review