Violent Code


Poet Safiya Sinclair, author of Cannibal, takes part in the Kenyon Review Conversation series with insight into race in America from a Jamaican’s point of view. Living in a white academic bubble in Charlottesville, VA, immersing herself in slavery-era texts and James Baldwin, she describes how she discovered the ways racism is reduced to the symbolic and coded into language—“hidden in plain sight.” “For example:” she says, “Why is the name ‘killer bee’ interchangeable with ‘Africanized bee’?… coded language makes its way into our vernacular, often shielded under the unimpeachable banner of science.”

Kirstin Allio is currently a Howard Foundation Fellow at Brown University. Her story collection, Clothed, Female Figure comes out with Dzanc in 2016. Her novel, Garner (Coffee House), was a finalist for the LA Times Book Award for First Fiction. She has received the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” Award, a PEN/O. Henry Prize, and has published many short stories, poems, and essays. More from this author →