Wite Out is a hybrid-form poememoir that documents the author’s experiences as a parent and publishing industry worker navigating historical race and class tensions in Oakland, CA. The text is pieced together from decades of notebooks: its insights emerge out of a dense collage of jotted down memories and reading excerpts. Norton treats the people in her life with deep respect but also exerts this fierce intellect and deadpan wit. I wanted to underline something every other page. If you enjoy this book I also highly recommend its prequel The Public Gardens: Poems and History.— From Alex's Picks
Literary Nonfiction. With WITE OUT, Linda Norton breaks fresh ground as an autobiographical poememoirist. Combining an exploration of her familial roots, an interrogation and critique of whiteness as lived experience, a diaristic account of relationships in all their complexity, and a personal, social, and cultural history of certain precincts in American poetry's late 20th-century avant-garde, WITE OUT is a masterpiece.--John Keene WITE OUT is a gorgeous book. Its spare, crystal-clear, non-confessional prose highlights feminine honesty rather than masculine concealment and makes you both sad and glad to be human. A memoir about a single working mother coping in a rough world she sees all too clearly, this is a courageous book about a courageous life; I couldn't put it down.--Norman Fischer Reading WITE OUT also made me wonder where that missing letter went? What did it stand for and what was crouching in the lean-to of its variously broken loop? Horror? Responsibility? It's just that how to take responsibility for horror has always seemed impossible because it means approaching the mass that assures annihilation. Whiteness is a black hole in this regard, but Linda Norton braves its event horizon, its point of no return, giving us leave to let go absolution to abolish, and fray the singularity to survive into some other dance we've been dancing, but denying, all along. In the proliferation of such release, we might hold on.--Fred Moten.