The poet and author of The Light of the World offers a meditation on the power of art and culture to illuminate America's unresolved problem with race and racism, expanding upon her viral New Yorker essay from which this book takes its title.
... a profound and lyrical meditation on race, class, justice and their intersections with art ... her sons are 22 and 23, and one of its most intimate and moving passages expresses her fear for their safety, as members of the generation she has christened ... When Dr. King gazed upon the...National Mall, transformed into a sea of radical hope, in the crowd was a baby [Alexander] being nurtured to witness and one day testify on behalf of the struggle for Black equality and self-determination. As much as this magnificent book is anything else, it’s a commitment to that generous and crucial life’s work.
... in Elizabeth Alexander’s beautiful, relevant book, The Trayvon Generation, the poet redefines the proximity of Black identity to loss as an opportunity to create new rituals and a new paradigm ... Alexander is focused both on memory, recollecting parts of ourselves and psyches, and also on repair and replenishing through a shift in perspective, helped along by the beautiful art from a range of artists including Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, and Kara Walker throughout. The work of Black artists in these pages elevates the conversation at the heart of the book ... Like a prose poem, The Trayvon Generation is deceptively succinct even as it humanizes our needlessly dead, the incarcerated, the many survivors of instantiations of Black inferiority. The book offers wisdom, reflection, and reportage with a crystalline precision infused with a powerful, elegant empathy ... This is one dazzling, beautiful aspect of The Trayvon Generation; joy as an act of resistance.
How do you mark your pages when you read a book? Whatever you use, have a lot of them on hand because nearly every other paragraph of The Trayvon Generation contains a sentence or three that you’ll want to remember, to reread, or turn over in your mind ... Author Elizabeth Alexander uses personal stories, Black literature, history, racial violence, and current events to paint pain inside the pages of this book. There’s outrage here, too, but it’s different than perhaps anything you’ve read: it shows itself, then it sits back and waits to see what a reader will do before getting another punch or gasp, another George Floyd, another Angola, another 'shock of delayed comprehension' ... That’s what makes this book so must-readable, so thoughtful and compelling. It’s what makes it something you’ll want to share with your older teenager and your friends, for discussion. Find The Trayvon Generation, and you won’t miss a thing.