We asked MFA alumni publishing books this spring what they’re reading, and what they'd recommend. Below, Aisha Sasha John shares her thoughts...
This morning I finished reading a transcription of a Frank B. Wilderson, III interview: “We’re trying to destroy the world”: Anti-Blackness & Police Violence After Ferguson. Here’s an excerpt:
‘So you convicted these kids, some to 200 or 300 years, on no evidence, but on the word of one police officer. Would you want that to happen to your child?’, one of the jurors said—without any sense of irony—‘if it was my child, we’d need evidence’. So the problem is not where the film situates the problem, or where the media situates it, i.e. in the rogue actions of the police. The problem is in the libidinal economy, which is to say in the collective unconscious of everybody else. And if we were to actually understand that better, we’d understand that Blackness is always-already criminalized in the collective unconscious...It’s not a question of something wrong taking place, that these Black people are suffering or exist under police brutality. Policing—policing Blackness—is what keeps everyone else sane. And if we can start to see the policing and the mutilation and the aggressivity towards Blackness not as a form of discrimination, but as being a form of psychic health and well-being for the rest of the world, then we can begin to reformulate the problem and begin to take a much more iconoclastic response to it.
Also, I am reading a John C. Lilly book called The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography.
Aisha's third poetry collection, I have to live., has just been published by McClelland & Stewart. I have to live. will have its Montreal launch alongside Erin Robinsong’s Rag Cosmology on April 22 at 7pm at The Emerald (5295 Avenue du Parc).