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The Black Automaton (National Poetry Series #145)

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  78 ratings  ·  8 reviews
"Douglas Kearney's innovative new collection makes me tremble like a 'mouth and mind full of fish hooks.' . . . These poems literally vibrate with Kearney's precocious intellect and passion. They hum, they bang, they bite. What else can I say? I have never encountered poetry like this before."—Terrance Hayes

Paperback, 95 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by Fence Books
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Carmelo Valone
Douglas Kearney, finally a poet with the balls and creativity to try, no excuse me-to do something new! I find his work amazingly refreshing and different. He tackles both the light and the difficult topics and can connect them with ease power. He knows how to use both the personal experience, rap, pop culture, history, poetics and even those old dead philosophies. His poetry is great on the page physically speaking, and even better when heard aloud. I'd recommend the spoken word CD that goes wi ...more
this was brilliant. I liked the "normal" formatted poems best but greatly admire him for his play on the page and the crazy effects they had on the eye.
Whoa! Experimental black poetics galore. Read if you're unafraid of the boogeyman and the white man.
Lisa M.
I heard Douglas Kearney speak at a panel on race and politics at the 2011 AWP. It was a really great talk, so I purchased this collection— and had it signed— when I went to the book fair. While the talk was great, I will admit that this was a difficult collection for me to approach. I think it is a very complex collection. Kearney experiments with the layouts of his poems— font sizes change, fonts change, arrows and brackets direct the line flow as opposed to actual line breaks, lines flow in di ...more
I very much enjoyed Kearney's more traditional lyric poems, but the experimental samplings seemed quite oblique. He is a total master of the metaphor, his line breaks are top-notch, and I was very much pleased with some of the images he garnered using his skill with those techniques. Other than that, the visual poems (a la late era Patchen/Apollinaire) of appropriated rap lyrics fell flat for me. I couldn't tell if the speaker was proud of this contemporary black culture, or felt it needed some ...more
Interesting read. I found a lot of the subject matter didn't really relate to my life at all... and some of it was confusing to understand. But I really enjoyed the way Kearney played with space and the movement of his language across the pages.
Rick Homuth
Unorthodox free-form poetry on the subject urban struggles, Hurricane Katrina, African-American culture, and other things that Kearney successfully had my Midwestern white self identifying with by the end of the book.
Yvette Neisser Moreno
This was tough to read. Kearney is clearly gifted with language, but the experimental format was too much for me.
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