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JENA OSMAN
Corporate Relations

2014
Poetry, 80 pages, offset, smyth-sewn
ISBN13 978-1-936194-17-9
original paperback $14

Corporate Relations takes a look at the constitutional history of corporate personhood in the United States. Although the Supreme Court Case Citizens United vs. United States has recently brought corporate personhood into the spotlight, the concept of granting Constitutional rights to corporate entities began soon after the Civil War. Corporations have won the rights of free speech, due process, protection from unreasonable search and seizure, and more. Corporate Relations tracks the constitutional rights granted to corporations, culling language from landmark Supreme Court cases. At the same time it investigates a shaky analogy: If corporations are persons, are persons machines?

Jena Osman’s recent books of poetry include Public Figures (Wesleyan Press, 2012) and The Network (selected for the 2009 National Poetry Series and published by Fence Books in 2010). Other books include An Essay in Asterisks (Roof Books) and The Character (Beacon Press). She co-edits the ChainLinks book series with Juliana Spahr, and teaches in the MFA Creative Writing program at Temple University in Philadelphia.

“Osman uses research-based and procedural strategies that often blur the genres of poetry and essay and dissolve the dividing line between imaginative play and scholarly investigation.”
—Michael Davidson, “American Poetry, 2000-2009,” in Contemporary Literature

“Osman's a canny operator whose intelligence is that of a literary sharpshooter: She never misses her mark, but the damage done is often not (or is simply much more than) the damage you anticipated.”
— Seth Abramson, The Huffington Post
(on Public Figures)

“In the breadth of her juxtaposed investigations, in her emphasis on the materiality of language, and in her deployment of different types of writing, she extends an avant-garde lineage that includes Susan Howe, Leslie Scalapino, and Lyn Hejinian—all of whom Osman has acknowledged as models. But she is more political than Howe, more plainly lucid than Scalapino, and less focused than Hejinian on the status of the subject. (In the introduction to Osman’s book The Character Hejinian herself notes that Osman’s subjectivity ‘exists in connections.’) Osman has already invented a unique and striking poetics, and The Network emphasizes its importance.”
— Siobhan Phillips, Boston Review