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Syndrome

ISBN: 9781934695814
Binding: paperback
Author: Éric Morales-Franceschini
Pages: 96
Trim: 6 x 9 inches
Published: 01/01/2024

Selected by former US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera for the 2022 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry, Syndrome scrutinizes the history, rhetoric, and naked power by which Puerto Rico became an "unincorporated territory" and its peoples pathologized subjects. That Puerto Rico is the world's oldest colony and Puerto Ricans the only nationality to have a psychological disorder named after them cannot, after all, be taken lightly. Conjuring an ensemble of chronicles, memory, anecdotes, anthems, monuments, statistics, and theory, this debut collection reckons with the collective traumas that haunt the Boricua psyche, a psyche vitiated by emancipatory desires as much as geopolitical travesties. In doing so, it strives to de-sublimate the effects of imperial power and enliven a politics for autonomy, beauty, and constituent power. Inventive, rigorous, and unyielding, Syndrome is nothing shy of a counter-diagnosis.


Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Tampa, Florida, Éric Morales-Franceschini is a former construction worker, US Army veteran, and community college graduate who now holds a PhD in Rhetoric from UC, Berkeley and is Associate Professor of English and Latin American Studies at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Autopsy of a Fall (Newfound, 2021), winner of the 2020 Gloria Anzaldúa Poetry Prize, and The Epic of Cuba Libre: The Mambí, Mythopoetics, and Liberation (University of Virginia Press, 2022), winner of the MLA's 2023 Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize and the 2023 Cultural Studies Association First Book Award. A recipient of fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson and Ford foundations, his essays and poetry have been published in a variety of scholarly and literary venues, including Global South Studies, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Age of Revolutions, Small Axe, Acentos Review, Kweli, Muzzle, AGNI, and Boston Review. Syndrome is his debut full-length collection.

 

" 'What form does colonization take?' asks Eric Morales-Franceschini, in his probing and poignant, prize-winning collection. He answers with testimony, through law, data, encounters with anti-immigrant hatred and white-supremacy, through memory, myth, movies, parentheses, footnotes, manifestos, and the rhetoric of lyrical experimentation. Perhaps the most convincing answer that Morales-Franceschini provides to the question of colonization's takes is to say that it's a Syndrome — a pathology that destroys the colonized and the colonizer. Fanon and Césaire are models here, and so is the work of Craig Santos Perez, a fellow-poet-theorizer of the unincorporated territory. From the revolutionary spaces of Puerto Rico and the deep UnitedStatesian south, Syndrome models how an honest confrontation with the darkness that surrounds us, fused with love and a vision for something unknown and unseen, can help us survive the endless erosion of the emergency." - Daniel Borzutzky

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