A Grand Sociology Lesson
by KJ Hannah Greenberg
KJ Hannah Greenberg fashions lively, keenly observant texts, tramps literary genres, and watches dust bunnies breed beneath her sofa. What’s more, she runs, nearly daily, with a prickle of sometimes rabid (imaginary) hedgehogs, and attempts to matchmake words like “balderdash” and "xylophone." Greenberg's been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize in Literature, once for the Million Writers Award, and once for The Best of the Net. She was a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar, too. Currently, Hannah serves as an Associate Editor at Bewildering Stories. Her most recent ambition is a full night's sleep.
Preface: The Study of Society’s Appendages
Critical analyses of social strata, of public institutions, of laws, and of media, help folks get the gist of how they can create additional goodness in their lives while suffering less. Clicked up a notch, this type of qualitative assessment, when put to verse, can capture the ecstasy of cultural creation, the pain of interpersonal failure, and the disharmony of negotiated vagueness.
A Grand Sociology Lesson, a book of ninety-four poems, articulates social experience. This assemblage mouths off about our shiny, waterproof practices as well as about our dull, unlaundered understandings. Accordingly, like the best of herbal bitters and like the least of conventional chemotherapy, A Grand Sociology Lesson is, in places, an uncomfortable read.
Yet, it is this book’s irritating character that is its empowerment. Candy-coated troches, ornamental rhetorical doggerel, and good-tasting lessons in ethics fail to heal us of our less than desirable communal habits. Repurposing our words, though, can preserve us when we stumble with love, with loss, or with indecision. Whereas it doesn’t matter how we review our experimentations with oak leaves, with dry ice, with nail liquor, or with baseball caps’ orientation, it makes a great deal of difference how we prod our economic, our ethnic, and our psychological trials.
To wit, A Grand Sociology Lesson pokes without compunction. Let apologia remain the province of stout elitists, of persons whom appropriate little concern for the others’ well-being. The rest of us must collectively grapple, poorly, or otherwise, with: rape, child abuse, the marginalization of elders, unemployment, debt, alcoholism, social exclusivity, housing shortages, insufficient medical care, and much more. Our discourse needs to get beyond worthless rodomontades. A Grand Sociology Lesson shows us that we ought to verbally nod at, whisper about, beep through expletives relevant to, and otherwise take possession of our commonplace affairs.
KJ Hannah Greenberg