Lost Privilege Company
or the book of listening
I am exceptionally grateful for the Blunt Research Group’s project Lost Privilege Company, or the book of listening. By retrieving the voices of these silenced children and placing them back into their beautiful poetic constellations, they have allowed the children to begin to speak again. And speak they do. “My father cried but the judge/the judge would not notice him,” Arthur writes. “Sleeping at night in a little shack/among the mesquit trees/working for eats,” writes Javier.
One of the questions the collaborative posits is “Listening and being voiceless often go hand in hand, but could speech become a way of listening?” This important collection and the inclusion of both voices, the children held captive and their wardens, begins to unravel this question, illuminating the possibilities of bringing silence back to life.
Lost Privilege Company, or the book of listening documents a public secret through poetic assemblages, offering direct testimony from the first youth prison in California. Activating what poet Susan Howe calls “the telepathy of the archive,” these poems build portraits of individuals at once denied work and subjected to its punishing routine. By converting the procedures of appropriation and sampling into a poetics of close listening, Lost Privilege Company operates at the crossroads of lyric and documentary poetries, of singularity and collectivism.
The Blunt Research Group is a nameless constellation of poets, artists, and scholars from diverse backgrounds. Its poems have been featured in exhibitions at the various museums, including the New School and UC Riverside, and been published in The Recluse, The Offing, Gulf Coast, MAKE, and Chicago Review. A full-length collection of texts by the Blunt Research Group will be published in the Wesleyan University Press Poetry Series in the Fall of 2016.
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$10 Paperback | Published 2016