CLA's Book Club!
The CLA Book Club, free and open to the public, gives San Joseans the chance to discuss books by the authors they've seen and heard from on-stage as part of the Reading Series.
In order to make CLA Book Club more accessible during these difficult times, we are moving our discussion to an online platform.
CLA’s Virtual Book Club continues with Travesty Generator by Lillian-Yvonne Bertram.
by Lillian-Yvonne Bertram
“I am astonished by Lillian Yvonne Bertram’s trailblazing poetry in Travesty Generator. Bertram uses open-source coding to generate haunting inquiring elegies to Trayvon Martin, and Eric Garner, and Emmett Till. By framing her “counter-narratives” of black lives in code and social media optimization, Bertram brilliantly conveys how black experience becomes codified, homogenized, and branded for capitalist dissemination. Code, written by white men, is part of the hardwired system of white supremacy, where structural violence begets itself. But Bertram hacks into it. She re-engineers language by synthesizing the lyric and coding script, taking the baton from Harryette Mullen and the Oulipians and dashing with it to late 21st century black futurity. Travesty Generator is genius.”
—Cathy Park Hong,
author of Engine Empire and Dance Dance Revolution
Zoom Discussion: Apr. 11th at 4pm
by Laila Lalami
What does it mean to be American? In this starkly illuminating and impassioned book, Pulitzer Prize–finalist Laila Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S. citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of the rights, liberties, and protections that are traditionally associated with American citizenship. Tapping into history, politics, and literature, she elucidates how accidents of birth—such as national origin, race, and gender—that once determined the boundaries of Americanness still cast their shadows today.
Lalami poignantly illustrates how white supremacy survives through adaptation and legislation, with the result that a caste system is maintained that keeps the modern equivalent of white male landowners at the top of the social hierarchy. Conditional citizens, she argues, are all the people with whom America embraces with one arm and pushes away with the other.
Brilliantly argued and deeply personal, Conditional Citizens weaves together Lalami’s own experiences with explorations of the place of nonwhites in the broader American culture.