Blood Dazzler Review from The Brooklyn Rail

Extending the practice of giving women’s (and now men’s) names to hurricanes, Smith personifies Katrina and tracks her growth from amorphous mass to “officially a bitch” (“8A.M., Sunday, August 28, 2005”). She gutsily uses personification, an outré device in postmodern poetry, throughout the book, variously depicting Katrina’s thoughts as she pitilessly devours the city, a dog’s anxiety while waiting to be untied from a tree, and the Superdome’s disregard toward the people ushered inside to ride out the storm: “I was never their church, although I disguised myself as a shelter / and relentlessly tested their faith.” (“Superdome”) Denial arises often in the book, as it did during the storm and its aftermath. Smith criticizes chief deniers George W. Bush and Michael Brown’s obtuseness and unresponsiveness via scathing satire. Of Bush, who at a photo op plays guitar like Nero his violin, she says, tartly, “The cowboy grins through the terrible din.” (“Gettin’ His Twang On,”) In “What to Tweak,” she speculates about what horrors enter the local FEMA official’s head while he types an email in flat bureaucratese to “Brownie,” who chirpily responds, “Anything specific I need to do / or tweak?”


Title Blood Dazzler Review from The Brooklyn Rail Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Criticism Target Patricia Smith
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 13 Aug 2013
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication The Brooklyn Rail
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