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Mr. West

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  122 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Mr. West covers the main events in superstar Kanye West's life while also following the poet on her year spent researching, writing, and pregnant. The book explores how we are drawn to celebrities--to their portrayal in the media--and how we sometimes find great private meaning in another person's public story, even across lines of gender and race. Blake's aesthetics take ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published March 9th 2015 by Wesleyan University Press
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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Jan 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
My review for the Chicago Tribune:

I you set out to write a poetry collection about Kanye West, someone who is himself arguably one of the most brilliant and influential poets of the 21st century so far, then it had better be good. Sarah Blake's debut book, "Mr. West" — impressive for both its hybridity and its ambition — is very good. She describes it as "an unauthorized lyric biography," and in it, she juxtaposes West's life as a celebrity with her own a
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Finished this last night and really, really enjoyed it. Sarah's doing something here with intertwining meditations on Kanye into her own very different life that feels very fresh and is incredibly accessible while remaining poetic and meaningful. ...more
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: friday-reads
What exactly does Sarah Blake, a pregnant Jewish poet living outside Philadelphia, see of herself in the megastar Kanye West? This strange and wonderful cycle of poems doesn’t provide an answer so much as it enacts one. In “The Fallible Face,” Emmanuel Levinas is “featured” like a guest collaborator, and the existentialist philosopher’s lines form an unexpected counterpoint to Blake’s own. In “The Week Kanye Joined Twitter,” she blends images of ostentatious wealth with visions of nymphs in a wa ...more
Mar 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: word-art
I'm not usually drawn to poetry, but I'm so glad I escaped my literary comfort zone for this book! Blake's poems are simply structured and accessible, but are still complex and gorgeously written. Mr. West isn't so much a biography of Kanye West's life, but a record of observations about privilege, racism, identity, and family in America, as well as commentary on the cult mentality that is imbedded into our society when it comes to celebrity. Blake finds surprising ways to empathize with Kanye a ...more
Kenning JP Garcia
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
If I was more familiar and especially if I was more in love with Kanye this would have been a five star book. It tugs at your sensations in several directions all at one time. This is a book of nuances. Over-the-top and subtle both simultaneously and alternating. Erasure becomes exposure. Contempt is turned inside out so we can commune with the subject behind the sentiments. The larger than life is reduced to piecemeal stanzas. Bite sized humor and empathy.
Jamie Erickson
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
this book was absolutely incredible. I've always had a mild fascination with Kanye-- and didn't realize that this book would revolve around him before I began it (I should have known with the title and all...). what I didn't realize until reaching "gaze" was that this book is also about compassion. humanizing the monster, so to speak. so good-- I've already recommended it to several people. ...more
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was as excited to read this as I was upset that someone wrote a book of poetry about Kanye West before I did. I absolutely adored this collection. The concept was intriguing and the actual poetry is truly wonderful.
Torii Johnson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 03, 2015 rated it liked it
So there it is. A book of poetry about Kanye West. And I read it. And I liked it. I'm not sure what that says about me. Sarah Blake is a good writer - though I found the blacked out lyrics incredibly frustrating - and she tackles Kanye's celebrity status, his family life, his car accident, racism, his mother's death.... with grace and poignancy. Is it gimmicky? I don't know. But it's good writing regardless. ...more
Liz Cettina
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
she really loves Kanye, and is pregnant when she talks about it

"Kanye is half what makes my heart"
Jeffrey Parker
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
The spectacle of Kanye blending with humanity and hatred and everything human and personal; creativity mixed with destruction and jealousy and the absurd.

I’m not exactly sure why I like this blend of memoir and biography and poetry so much, but I do.
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed Sarah Blake's poetic exploration of Kanye West's life, especially surrounding the death of his mother, in relation to society and her own life. I am amazed and still thinking about her combination of astute cultural observations bridged with intimate descriptions of her romantic relationship and pregnancy. A stunning collection of poems. ...more
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
This got real weird real fast
May 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
this morning I woke up and I just really wanted to read a book of poems about Kanye West
Emily Hilliard
Mar 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: poems
Weird, but good? Because it made me think-- about the connections between the art of poetry and the art of celebrity, which is something I've never considered before.

Thank you, Diane Cook!
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very interesting and unique poetry collection. What other living artist could have an entire poetry collection formed around them other than Kanye? He has been around for long enough, he has enough controversy, he has enough depth, he has enough mystery and known private knowledge.

Lines I liked:
From I want a house to raise my son in: "and if my desires are not unique, / what is?"
Twilight: starring Kanye: "I'm thinking the black man can't be a monster because he is one, because we won't let a
Ms. Reader
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
I received this book from Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review....

I honestly don't know how, or where to put my finger on this. The first thought that came to my mind was: what does a white, Jewish, pregnant woman have to do with a narcissistic, arrogant (yet, shamefully talented) rap superstar Kanye West. And why is she writing a book of poems about him? Strange, Weird, Unique, Creative, Talented, Odd... so many things to describe this very short read.

I remember when West's fi
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I finished it in one sitting, and while it is a biography told through poems, that does deserve recognition from me, both in general and as someone that doesn't really get poetry. It actually did work pretty well as a biography and as an insight into Blake's pregnancy and relationship with Kanye, which I thought was compelling. It was fine to read through, but it doesn't feel like much sunk in. i guess in the same way to Kanye's music, I'll need to give it a closer look. ...more
Eliza Wensley
Oct 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
Just horrible....
Samantha Pearl
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Cait Weiss Orcutt
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Apr 06, 2016
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Nov 16, 2015
Robert Costic
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Jun 28, 2018
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