The Transcultural Poet as Counterwitness in Anthony Cody’s Borderland Apocrypha
The US/Mexican border continues to be an important topic of public debate for Americans. The ways journalists frame stories about Latino immigration at the southwest border can have devasting consequences for Latino communities living and residing in the United States. Poets have been quick to respond to misleading, and often pervasive, representations. In previous essays, I have introduced a figure of diverse social and cultural background who testifies against dominant media narratives in the public sphere. I call this figure the transcultural counterwitnesss. This essay turns to Anthony Cody’s Borderland Apocrypha to investigate how his experimental collection offers new consideration of Latino-American identity through its engagement with the longstanding stereotypes in the American public sphere. By observing the transcultural impulses of Cody’s work, this essay explores the ways Borderland Apocrypha experiments with poetic form and voice to provide more insightful considerations of American identity politics and examines how his collection engages with, and opposes, the longstanding stereotypes of Latino communities. A greater transcultural awareness illustrates the ways past violence influences and emerges with contemporary realities and invites readers to contemplate Latino identity in contemporary American culture.
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