A landmark collection of poetry by acclaimed fiction writer, translator, and MacArthur Fellow John Keene, PUNKS: NEW & SELECTED POEMS is a generous treasury in seven sections that spans decades and includes previously unpublished and brand new work. With depth and breadth, PUNKS weaves together historic narratives of loss, lust, and love. The many voices that emerge in these poems–from historic Black personalities, both familial and famous, to the poet’s friends and lovers in gay bars and bedrooms–form a cast of characters capable of addressing desire, oppression, AIDS, and grief through sorrowful songs that we sing as hard as we live. At home in countless poetic forms, PUNKS reconfirms John Keene as one of the most important voices in contemporary poetry.
John Keene’s PUNKS is utterly brilliant. The range, vision, depth and humanity he brings to the page are as galactic as Banneker’s astral wanderings, as crisp as the chordal cutting of a searching horn, as courageous and small as a nose wide open. Keene’s masterfully inventive inquiry of self and history is queered, Blackened, and joyously thick with multitudes of voice and valence. Amen to this exploration!–Tyehimba Jess
Poetry. African & African American Studies. LGBTQIA Studies.