An incisive new collection of poetry on political and contemporary themes
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 in this country, The Gilded Auction Block is a book about the present that reaches into the past and stretches toward the future.
About the Author
Shane McCrae is the author of In the Language of My Captor, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the William Carlos Williams Award; The Animal Too Big to Kill, winner of the 2014 Lexi Rudnitsky / Editor’s Choice Award; Forgiveness Forgiveness; Blood; and Mule. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He teaches at Columbia University and lives in New York City.
“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.” —Dan Chiasson, 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.” —Nick Ripatrazone, 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