This book—image, poem, essay— is part of a trilogy including Just Us and Citizen, is less about race and more about mental anguish. What behaviors are called crazy? Which ones merit institutionalized? How is “craziness” a deeply felt response to the absurdity of our times? Or to the impossibility of finding existential meaning in a meaningless and cruel world? Rankine posits that “dreaming” or making art is a sane reaction to the chaos of the world. It’s sobering to realize the chaos she depicts— circa 2003 and the Iraq War and 9/11, was perhaps just the beginning of a trajectory of horrors landing us where we are now, at the eve of another disrupted election.

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