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Volume 39, Number 2 (2014)

Ethics, Intention, and Affect: A Proprioceptive Poetics in Roy Miki’s Mannequin Rising

June 25, 2015


In Mannequin Rising, poet Roy Miki explores the active and ongoing constitution of the subject in order to consider how globalization and market forces are rewriting the spaces we inhabit. Critiquing the commodification, appropriation and consumption of different forms of life, the poet situates the human body within a vast network of globalizing processes and in the array of human and extra-human infrastructures underlying them. In particular, Mannequin Rising suggests how a biopolitics of life – intent on policing, manipulating and mining the parameters of human life and human sociality – consumes and melds into the material world. Exploring Miki’s poetics, this article examines how Mannequin Rising channels a need to address the historical processes that shape a place, while being attentive to the body’s contemporaneity. As the text reflects, the frames of globalization are bound up with the legacies of colonialism and racialization. This article argues that Miki’s engagement with the body as a proprioceptive and affective entity creates space for the workings of memory and historical consciousness. In other words, a proprioceptive poetics represents the poet’s task of encountering and apprehending the world.