This major new work is thought, spirit and sense (in every sense) ‘fleshed out’ in ‘all the corners’ by being unmade – as poetry, as music, as (black and white) images, and as attention to the interconnected circuitries the One has with the social, historical and environmental ‘to / link us outside’. These elements are no sooner embodied than they slip, shift, carousel and spin away. As Goodwin puts it: ‘no longer a bodily reference to an individual subject’s presence; not obliterated but made into an element, air or breath, as black poetry’s condition of im/possibility for, and refusal of subjecthood.’ Hence it is that this poetry achieves ‘flightacross precipitous intransigence’ (Will Alexander), perhaps flights of manifestations of spirit, ‘ghostly crowned / apogees’, like duppies, which is to say, sacred. Hence too the work’s urgent task to avoid ‘thingification’: the conscription and exploitation of thought &/or body for neo-colonialist, which is to say, neo-liberal ends. Goodwin eschews identity politics for a phenomenology that is more properly radical in both the etymological sense of the term – rooted and vital to life – as well as situated within a history of experimental black thought which, simultaneously, rejects normative traditions of meaning, signification and value. Both meanings are central to the anti-racist core of this important work – ‘when i don’t know you but you must know who i am’ – in a poetry that’s as breath-taking as it is breath-making. ‘Inexpressibly full with what words can do’.
— Emily Critchley, author of Home (London: Protoype, 2021), Arrangements (Shearsman Books, 2018) and Ten Thousand Things (UEA: Boiler House Press, 2017)
James Goodwin is a poet doing a PhD in English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London with a thesis on the blacksociopoetics of marronage, breath, sacrality and emanation. His pamphlet, aspects caught in the headspace we’re in: composition for friends, was published by Face Press; and his debut book, Fleshed Out For All The Corners Of The Slip, is forthcoming with the87press. He serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry.