Corporate Relations

Corporate Relations

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Author: Jena Osman 

Publisher: Burning Deck (2014)

A look at the constitutional history of corporate personhood in the United States. Although the Supreme Court Case Citizens United vs. United States has recently brought this issue into the spotlight, the concept of granting Constitutional rights to corporate entities began soon after the Civil War. Corporate Relations tracks the constitutional rights granted to corporations, culling language from landmark Supreme Court cases. At the same time it investigates a shaky analogy: if corporations are persons, what are persons? machines?

"If ever there were a poetry collection to entice law students and aspiring Supreme Court justices to read more verse and fewer articles on tort reform, Jena Osman’s Corporate Relations is that collection. Corporate Relations is a sharp, witty, and politically motivated work that follows the historical trajectory of corporate personhood in the United States, a topic readers might otherwise expect to see explored in a didactic and voluminous manuscript penned by a political scientist. Many of the poems here feel as though they were composed by a barrister with an uncontrollable proclivity for verse, which might strike some as a criticism. However, Osman’s poetic gamble with jurisprudence pays off, and in spades. The collection skillfully balances the intellectual demands of its subject matter with unexpected rewards and provocative insights."

–Caleb Beckwith