Author: Lillian-Yvonne Bertram
Publisher: Noemi Press (2019)
Longlisted for the 2020 National Book Award in Poetry. Like a ghost in the machine, Travesty Generator remixes programming codes and turns them to ruminate on the intersections of race and gender. Rhythmic, hypnotic, and percussive, the poems are iterative and suggest the infinite recursions of nano data. The poems pay homage to lives taken too soon, those of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, pulls heroes like Harriet Tubman into the present, and offers the wisdoms spoken by Black mothers to their children. Travesty Generator reminds us that programming languages and computer codes are not neutral. But while oppressive algorithms abound, the poems hack their way into new connections and possibilities for Black life.