"preface to a traffic stop: sound" by Randall Horton

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July 12, 2021 

preface to a traffic stop: sound


Randall Horton 
i always thought sound was meant to indicate a kinda genuine, authentic, absolute individuation, which struck me as A: undesirable—& B: damn near impossible. whereas sound was reality in the midst of this intense engagement with all the sound you ever heard. sound shaped within a climate inciting performance as black matter .or. anti matter, as in against. sound a central body of “sonic” whereas you struggle to make a difference, so to speak, within that sound—& that difference isn’t necessarily about you as an individual but more simply trying to augment & differentiate the sound around you getting closer & closer to a never-ending where you are the proletariat in somebody else’s melodrama as both spectacle and spectator—as the drama unfolds—hold—hold on.

Copyright © 2021 by Randall Horton. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 12, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

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“I’ve been wrestling with the many variations of sound as an infinite statement, but underneath this line of inquiry lies the sobering reality that the only thing genuine about sound is its capability to create beauty and ruin. Perhaps there is nothing more beautiful than sound; and yet, attached to a police car with flashing lights in the form of a siren, sound can ultimately alter the landscape of one’s physical existence, literally in a finger Snap."
—Randall Horton 

Randall Horton’s memoir, Dead Weight: A Memoir in Essays is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press in 2022. A Professor of English at the University of New Haven, he is also a member of the experimental performance group Heroes Are Gang Leaders, which recently received the American Book Award in Oral Literature. 

{#289-128}: Poems
(University Press of Kentucky, 2020)


 “Variations in Blue” by Lauren K. Alleyne
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from “Citizen, VI [I knew whatever was in front of me was happening]” by Claudia Rankine
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Thanks to R. Erica Doyle, author of proxy (Belladonna Books, 2013), who curated Poem-a-Day for this month’s weekdays. Watch a Q&A about Doyle’s curatorial approach and find out more about our guest editors for the year
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