This recognition—the moment at which a tragic hero realizes the true nature of his own character, condition, or relationship with an antagonistic entity—is what Aristotle called anagnorisis. Not concerned with placatory gratitude nor with coddling the sensibilities of the country's racial majority, Dargan challenges America: "You, friends- / you peckish for a peek / at my cloistered, incandescent / revelry-were you as earnest / about my frostbite, my burns, / I would have opened / these hands, sated you all."
At a time when U.S. politics are heavily invested in the purported vulnerability of working-class and rural white Americans, these poems allow readers to examine themselves and the nation through the eyes of those who have been burned for centuries.
"In Dargan's Anagnorisis, what can be called 'disillusionment' is life torquing into complication and deeper possibilities. Here, communities in the micro and macro mangle and contort the speaker out of his focus on systems of oppression and onto oppressed people, decimating all distractions for charismatic calls for joy-'Yes, I am thankful, / but I cannot accommodate you / inside my gratitude,'—such that the speaker can, with wisdom, 'know how a song / do & don't tell.' Dargan leaves no social upheaval untouched. Ecopoetic, internationally erudite, and chiseled by love, these poems 'know the phenomenon that is judgment,' making a torch song into a brilliant resurrection." —Phillip B. Williams, author of Thief in the Interior
“The poems in Anagnorisis are weightlifting; repeatedly pushing the burden of current events—the gentrification of DC, the numberless black deaths at the hands of authority, U.S./Global relations, our rapidly altering ecosystem—away from chest, trying to hold them at a distance, only to pull them back and attempt to master the muscle required to survive and write and celebrate in times like these. ‘Rage would be a word to fit in the mouth/ had the mouth not grown small from watching,’ Dargan writes, and does the work of gracefully making room in his poems to get eye-to-eye with a people’s mammoth rage, and also remind us of the daily, small, and enduring hopes we must have for a better nation and world.” —Elizabeth Acevedo, author of The Poet X"Anagnorisis may well be Kyle Dargan’s most virtuosically conceived book, while being his most naked, brutally honest revelation. It’s not often we see these extremes in such a poised and powerful balance." —Ed Roberson, author of Closest Pronunciation and To See the Earth Before the End of The World