Pitch Dark Anarchy

Trade Paper – $16.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-5227-4
Publication Date
February 2013
Page Count
96 pages
Trim Size
6.25 x 8.5

Pitch Dark Anarchy

Randall Horton

Pitch Dark Anarchy investigates the danger of one single narrative with multilayered poems that challenge concepts of beauty and image, race and identity, as well as the construction of skin color. Through African American memory and moments in literature, the poems seek to disrupt and dismantle foundations that create erasures and echoes of the unremembered. Pitch Dark Anarchy uses the slave revolt of the Amistad as a starting point, a metaphor for "opposition" and "against." These themes run through the very core for the book while drawing on inventive and playful language. The poems bring to life human experiences and conditions created by an "elite" society. In these poems, locations and landscapes are always shifting, proving that our shared experiences can be interchangeable. At the very core of Pitch Dark Anarchy is a seven-part poem based on the artist Margret Bowland’s "Another Thorny Crown Series," which are paintings of an African American girl in white face.

Through innovative formal and visual techniques, such as fractured syntax and typographical disruption, Horton evokes the disorienting experiences of urban life, while also calling into question the complicity of language in the oppressive structures he anatomizes.

About the Author

Randall Horton is an assistant professor of English at the University of New Haven in Connecticut and the author of The Definition of Place (2006) and The Lingua Franca of Ninth Street (2009). He is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea González Poetry Award, and a National Endowment of the Arts Literature Fellowship. His creative and critical work has appeared in the print journals Callaloo, Sou’wester, Caduceus, and New Haven Review and in the online journal The Offending Adam. Randall is a fellow of Cave Canem and a member of the Affrilachian Poets, two organizations that support African American poetry; and a member of the Symphony: The House That Etheridge Built, a reading collective named for the poet Etheridge Knight. An excerpt from Horton’s memoir, Roxbury, is newly released as a chapbook.


"Randall Horton takes up the experiment we are, as content as well as form, theory as well as practice, as searching, as research, as tilling and digging, as aeration and irrigation, on the ground and under until there is no ground except for what you hear, an ever ascendant bottom animating every line. Pitch Dark Anarchy; dark animateriality; new-strung, hard-thrown air. We who think we have it have to look for it everywhere because it’s everywhere, right under our noses, all up under our skin, right now in our hands. We, who? You. It’s your thing, if you feel enough to claim it. I mean you. I mean you." —Fred Moten