Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities
This groundbreaking, transgenre work—part detective story, part literary memoir, part imagined past—is intensely autobiographical and confessional. Proceeding sentence by sentence, city by city, and backwards in time, poet and essayist Kazim Ali details the struggle of coming of age between cultures, overcoming personal and family strictures to talk about private affairs and secrets long held. The text is comprised of sentences that alternate in time, ranging from discursive essay to memoir to prose poetry. Art, history, politics, geography, love, sexuality, writing, and religion, and the role silence plays in each, are its interwoven themes. Bright Felon is literally “autobiography” because the text itself becomes a form of writing the life, revealing secrets, and then, amid the shards and fragments of experience, dealing with the aftermath of such revelations. Bright Felon offers a new and active form of autobiography alongside such texts as Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee, Lyn Hejinian’s My Life, and Etel Adnan’s In the Heart of the Heart of Another Country. A reader’s companion is available at http://brightfelonreader.site.wesleyan.edu/
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Agnes Martin Albany apartment Arabic asked autobiography backwards Baghdad blanket blue body bones bookstore break breath Buffalo butoh Cairo cathedral Champ de Mars Claude Monet coffee cold dark death desert didn’t disappear earth Emily Dickinson father Finnegans Wake French Gertrude Stein God’s graveyard hadith hair hand inside island Ismail Jason knew labyrinth language learned leave light lived loneliness look Marble Hill Marco meet miles morning mosque mother mountains mouth moved Musée Muslim never night ocean painting Palais de Tokyo Paradise lies beneath Paris park pilgrimage poems poetry Quran Rhinebeck river Saqqara silence skin smoke sound space speak spoke Spuyten Duyvil Creek stay stone story streets tell things thought thread town train trees unable underneath walk wall Washington what’s whispered wind wondered write written wrote York City