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*PDF EBOOK* Defacing the Monument by Susan Briante

Defacing the Monument opens with the narration of an Operation Streamline hearing, a proceeding during which as many as 75 undocumented migrants are criminally prosecuted and sentenced en masse to serve jail time prior to deportation. It’s an attempt to bear witness to what happens to those who do not hold the “correct” documents as a way to show texts always bear the marks of power. Documentary poetics offers a tradition and a form through which a writer can situate events or experiences within broad social and historical contexts. It can provide a space to record, to unearth, to witness, and to contextualize. But we can’t fetishize the document. And we must use it with an eye toward our own complicity and participation in the systems we wish to investigate. Part documentary act, part lyric essay, part criticism, Defacing the Monument enacts the possibilities and limits of documentary impulses.

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