McCrae, Shane: In the Language of My Captor

McCrae, Shane: In the Language of My Captor

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Wesleyan University Press, 2017

The fifth exquisite collection of autobiographical, historical, and verisimilar narratives from a premier poetic mind. In the Language of My Captor is a suite of poems of freedom, ownership, identity, and fear, interlocked. McCrae is creator and curator, maestro of the subtle coherence of several vantages and revelations, whether they’re those of the eponymous Black captive, of the mixed-race “adopted son” of the President of the Confederacy, or of a young, beleaguered McCrae himself. These voices belong adjacent—these vivid personae restricting one another’s movements in the interest of finer motion entire—disquieted psyches finding themselves in sync.

––Alexander Moysaenko



"Banjo Yes Asks a Journalist"

I didn't marry none of them white women
Because I was a     /What did you say     a free black man
Shit man if I had been a free black man
I would have married a girl from back home

That's what you think it is
Freedom you don't you you think it's
Making decisions other folks won't like
Listen     I do a thing to piss a white man off

I'm bound to that man's will     hell
I'm bound to that man's pleasure
He got me on a level where he doesn't even have to think
And all I do is think about him

tell me     when have I been free
Boy write this down     I'm asking
when have you not had to say / Something about white folks to say
Something about me