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The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop

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A first-of-its-kind anthology of hip-hop poetica written for and by the people. Hip-Hop is the largest youth culture in the history of the planet rock. This is the first poetry anthology by and for the Hip-Hop generation. It has produced generations of artists who have revolutionized their genre(s) by applying the aesthetic innovations of the culture. The BreakBeat Poets fea A first-of-its-kind anthology of hip-hop poetica written for and by the people. Hip-Hop is the largest youth culture in the history of the planet rock. This is the first poetry anthology by and for the Hip-Hop generation. It has produced generations of artists who have revolutionized their genre(s) by applying the aesthetic innovations of the culture. The BreakBeat Poets features 78 poets, born somewhere between 1961-1999, All-City and Coast-to-Coast, who are creating the next and now movement(s) in American letters. The BreakBeat Poets is for people who love Hip-Hop, for fans of the culture, for people who've never read a poem, for people who thought poems were only something done by dead white dudes who got lost in a forest, and for poetry heads. This anthology is meant to expand the idea of who a poet is and what a poem is for. The BreakBeat Poets are the scribes recording and remixing a fuller spectrum of experience of what it means to be alive in this moment. The BreakBeat Poets are a break with the past and an honoring of the tradition(s), an undeniable body expanding the canon for the fresher.


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A first-of-its-kind anthology of hip-hop poetica written for and by the people. Hip-Hop is the largest youth culture in the history of the planet rock. This is the first poetry anthology by and for the Hip-Hop generation. It has produced generations of artists who have revolutionized their genre(s) by applying the aesthetic innovations of the culture. The BreakBeat Poets fea A first-of-its-kind anthology of hip-hop poetica written for and by the people. Hip-Hop is the largest youth culture in the history of the planet rock. This is the first poetry anthology by and for the Hip-Hop generation. It has produced generations of artists who have revolutionized their genre(s) by applying the aesthetic innovations of the culture. The BreakBeat Poets features 78 poets, born somewhere between 1961-1999, All-City and Coast-to-Coast, who are creating the next and now movement(s) in American letters. The BreakBeat Poets is for people who love Hip-Hop, for fans of the culture, for people who've never read a poem, for people who thought poems were only something done by dead white dudes who got lost in a forest, and for poetry heads. This anthology is meant to expand the idea of who a poet is and what a poem is for. The BreakBeat Poets are the scribes recording and remixing a fuller spectrum of experience of what it means to be alive in this moment. The BreakBeat Poets are a break with the past and an honoring of the tradition(s), an undeniable body expanding the canon for the fresher.

30 review for The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop

  1. 5 out of 5

    s.penkevich

    Open this / when you need me / most -Ocean Vuong Move over, poetry anthologies, a new champion has come for the throne. And it is here to slay. Take all the dusty anthologies of old, white dudes off your shelf, strew them around your living room and read this aloud while dancing on top of them. This book is the rhythm of poetry you never realized you needed but ached for somewhere deep down. From Haymarket Books--a “ radical, independent, nonprofit book publisher based in Chicago”--which is easil Open this / when you need me / most -Ocean Vuong Move over, poetry anthologies, a new champion has come for the throne. And it is here to slay. Take all the dusty anthologies of old, white dudes off your shelf, strew them around your living room and read this aloud while dancing on top of them. This book is the rhythm of poetry you never realized you needed but ached for somewhere deep down. From Haymarket Books--a “ radical, independent, nonprofit book publisher based in Chicago”--which is easily one of the most important publishers in modern day, comes The Breakbeat Poets anthologies (Vol 1, to be discussed here, but The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic is just as important and beautiful, if not more so). Edited by Kevin Coval, Quraysh Ali Lansana, and Nate Marshall, this is a collection that celebrates the aesthetics of hip-hop as poetry in a way that transcends expectations and unlocks a brilliantly bright and diverse history and future of poetry. This is poetry of social revolution, poetry that deserves banners waving to clear the smoke from it’s creative energy that gives poetry to the people. ‘In ways similar to how blues influenced the Harlem Renaissance or the ways jazz influenced the Black Arts Poets, the music and culture of hip-hop shape this movement of american letters and create a generation engaged in similar and variant aesthetic principles and experimentations,’ writes Kevin Coval, the poet who gave us A People's History of Chicago and Schtick, in his powerful introduction. ‘This is a prayer book and a shank, concrete realism and abstracted futurism.’ This is the book you need in your bag for a long journey, the book you need in your hand to spark a fire deep in your heart, a book you need in your mind to remember that poetry comes in many forms, the book you need by your bed to send you into a sleep where you can dream of brighter horizons even if it means setting the old ones ablaze. This is a collection that broadens the definition of poetry and art. Though the crusty academics may scoff and hold assertions on “what can be art”--an obdurate objectifier used across all artistic history that tried to oppress movements like the modernists, for example--rest assured, many of these poets are bringing back traditional poetic forms like ghazals and meter in a fresh and exciting way. This is poetry that works aloud as well as on the page, poetry that has a beat even if it is simply your heartbeat racing with love to the words. This collection is full of forms familiar and fantastical, printing words on a page you only dreamed of being able to attempt. Prose poetry, slam poetry, traditional poetry (yes, even metered rhyming poetry and sonnets), free verse...all the poetry all the time all the love all the world over. What is most impressive about this collection is the cast of poets brought together. Many familiar, many new, all of them incredible. These are poets across a vast range of races, age, gender, nations, and styles to make up the most gorgeously diverse collection of poetry in print. The themes in these poems are equally diverse and many hit on key social issues that make headlines today. There are incredibly powerful discussions on identity, heritage, race, violence, police brutality, gentrification (‘the realest thing / about the white woman / and her Yorkie on this / reimagined street / is the leather / of the leash that tethers them’ -- Samantha Thornhill) oppression, family, love, loss, any other ideas that will bring smiles to your face and tears to your eyes. “This is the resurrection of the real/ the rebirth of what they tried to kill/ this was captured from the youth and commercialized/ extracted from the ghetto exploited then despised But this is history revisioned and revised/ --Mayda Del ValleArranged here is an impressive list of writers: Eve L. Ewing, Amiri Baraka, Aracelis Girmay, Fatimah Asghar, Jamila Woods, Jericho Brown, Josẽ Olivarez, Morgan Parker, Danez Smith, Mahogany L. Browne, T'ai Freedom Ford, Ocean Vuong, among many, many others. These are poets who show no fear, who look the world in the eye and ‘laugh into the microphone / and who is ready for that?’ (Eve L. Ewing in her phenomenal to the notebook kid). These are poems that remind us all that there is a poet inside us waiting to be tapped into. This is a collection that shows that poetry can grow from anywhere. This is about art, this is about finding a voice and making it heard. The musical culture that flows forth from the lines becomes one great dionysian celebration.These are poems speaking to the common person. These are poems filled with tributes to hip-hop icons, these are poems like graffiti on a wall. You’ll find allusions to Notorious B.I.G. and hip-hop culture. You’ll find youth alive and shouting to be heard, to recognize life and respect the fallen. One of my favorite poems in the collection comes from the incredible poet and musician Jamila Woods. I had the honor of hearing her read this to the music of her band during a concert and for anyone out there who loves poetry, you should certainly listen to her album (she also was an editor on Vol 2). While you can listen and watch her read the poem here, this poem has stuck with me for months now: Blk Grl Art (after Amiri Baraka) Poems are bullshit unless they are eyeglasses, honey tea with lemon, hot water bottles on tummies. I want poems my grandma wants to tell the ladies at church about. I want orange potato words soaking in the pot til their skins fall off, words you burn your tongue on, words on sale two for one, words that keep my feet dry. I want to hold a poem in my fist in the alley just in case. I want a poem for dude at the bus stop. Oh you can’t talk ma? Words to make the body inside my body less invisible. Words to teach my sister how to brew remedies in her mouth. Words that grow mama’s hair back. Words to detangle the kitchen. I won’t write poems unless they are an instruction manual, a bus card, warm shea butter on elbows, water, a finger massage to the scalp, a broomstick sometimes used for cleaning and sometimes to soar. This collection celebrates are in amazing ways. Nate Marshall, star of the amazing documentary Louder than a Bomb gives a list of what this collection believes in, here are a few:1. We believe in the necessity for poems to live in multiple media. 2. We believe in work rooted in a democratic cypher of ideas rather than privileging high intellectual or artistic pedigree. For us everything is on the table and equally valid until proven wack. 3. We believe in a foundational canon that is multicultural and multiethnic by definition and celebrates and elevates the art and lives of people of color. 5. We believe in art that invites, acknowledges, and celebrates the voices of poor people and disenfranchised people.There are more, and each is vital, but for the whole list I must recommend checking out the book and getting the full experience. You won’t be disappointed. The essays in the last section of the book are just as good as the poetry. BreakBeat Poets Vol 1 is utterly amazing and the follow-up volume is an essential read. I am eagerly awaiting more editions. These are words to keep close to your heart, these are words for changing the world. 5/5 I trust this book to be a piece of the growing discourse on how at can be used to create a fresher world, a useful tool to further and extend and generate conversations in classrooms and ciphers, on the corner, in living rooms, in institutions, and in the renegade spaces young people carve out for themselves despite state control. - Kevin Coval

  2. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    I just want to say that I haven't been reading this like I read books typically, that I've been opening it up to random places and reading the author from that point on and marking that I read them already. So not your typical lateral type reading. Which I never do for poetry collections. What I really enjoy about this book is the format and imagery of the poetry, that is something more modern and not pretentious at all. The topics range from things like racism, sexism, music, passion, and more. I just want to say that I haven't been reading this like I read books typically, that I've been opening it up to random places and reading the author from that point on and marking that I read them already. So not your typical lateral type reading. Which I never do for poetry collections. What I really enjoy about this book is the format and imagery of the poetry, that is something more modern and not pretentious at all. The topics range from things like racism, sexism, music, passion, and more. And the formats of some of the poems are really cool, a lot of them I have to reread just to dissect the various ways that it could be read. Some of these poems are ones that you can read like a narrative, but there are some that I had to go back to and really digest, and I really loved it. There are even some poems by some of my favorite spoken word poets in here that excite me. The connection that these poems have to hip hop, is definitely in their rawness, their ability to be wonderful without being pretty. This is a collection I hope starts getting it's rounds in the educational realm, especially for multicultural studies courses. Highly recommend this collection.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Leah Rachel von Essen

    Online, I read a reviewer write that this volume doesn’t make enough of a “case” for this type of poetry. Another says that there’s a reason “it’s called spoken word.” Putting aside the vaguely racist impetus for both of these comments, I can assume that these reviewers also live under rocks. There’s no need to ‘make a case’ for Breakbeat poetry, because it is the living, breathing, stunning reality of poetry today. It is the most prominent movement in modern poetry, a poetry inspired by hip hop Online, I read a reviewer write that this volume doesn’t make enough of a “case” for this type of poetry. Another says that there’s a reason “it’s called spoken word.” Putting aside the vaguely racist impetus for both of these comments, I can assume that these reviewers also live under rocks. There’s no need to ‘make a case’ for Breakbeat poetry, because it is the living, breathing, stunning reality of poetry today. It is the most prominent movement in modern poetry, a poetry inspired by hip hop, by rhythm, by speaking aloud, by sampling and declaring. Morgan Parker, Danez Smith, Nate Marshall, Eve Ewing, Douglas Kearney, Fatimah Asghar, and more are the reigning poets of our current moment. The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop is not a case for this kind of poetry but a collection of poetry inspired by the syncopations and calls of hip-hop, a stunning collection that will serve as required reading for understanding this era’s poetic canon for years to come. “Hip hop made poetry relevant,” writes Kevin Coval in his introduction. “It was no longer this dreadful, dead-white-male-centered, highly dull piece to sleep through an English class. It was very much alive and in our Walkmen and notebooks....Hip-hop is participatory, radically democratic culture. Everyone is invited and asked to contribute, to get down, in their own way and on their own terms. Hip-hop invited us to write.” Breakbeat poetry is radical because it is a group of voices that have too rarely made it into our poetry canons in the past, and because they are allowed to bring their slang, their childhoods, their truths with them no matter how different they may be. This is a stunning collection of Breakbeat poetry, featuring about 80 poets from different backgrounds, with different styles, poems that all come together to help create a picture of what Breakbeat poetry has in common even through all its most experimental jumps. I recommend reading it straight through, then reading the artistic statements at the back, and then reading the work of those artists again to gain a better understanding. A lot of reading this book was marking down the poets I need to find more of, the names I didn’t yet know but should, the authors of poems who rocked me to my core. Anyone who is interested in modern poetry or who considers themselves knowledgable on the subject should dig into the Breakbeat Poets or be lost in the homogeneous past of what poetry used to be.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    I'm a big fan of Hip-hop, some of my favourite artists are Salt 'n' Pepa, Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer and Sting. I'm also a fan of Poetry, some of my favourite artists are Raegan Butcher, Harry Whitewolf, MJ Black and JA Carter-Winward. I remember the first time I heard the sugar Hill gang's Rappers delight, it was the first time I realised that words could be a form of art, so when I saw this book I had to get myself a copy just to see what else was out there. The Breakbeat Poets is a collection of p I'm a big fan of Hip-hop, some of my favourite artists are Salt 'n' Pepa, Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer and Sting. I'm also a fan of Poetry, some of my favourite artists are Raegan Butcher, Harry Whitewolf, MJ Black and JA Carter-Winward. I remember the first time I heard the sugar Hill gang's Rappers delight, it was the first time I realised that words could be a form of art, so when I saw this book I had to get myself a copy just to see what else was out there. The Breakbeat Poets is a collection of poems by 70 different artists and they have been published in the order the poets were born 1961-1999. The layout is brilliant, you can really see how things have evolved, early poets wrote about music, the way it made them feel and they wrote about their heroes and the people they love. As we move into the work by poet's born in the 90's you can feel the mood change, there is more anger and outrage in their words. Another good thing with the layout, the editors have left the formatting and spelling as it is, no touch ups, it makes it feel more real. I'm not going to admit I loved every poem, a lot was way about my head. Example, a few poets keep mentioning 'erasure' at first I thought "what is this obsession with the band?" At the end of the book it gets explained and it is a pretty cool form of poetry. Here are a few highlights for you: jessica Care moore. mic check, 1-2. the first poem in the book I loved, has a real feel of hip hop to it and it's easy to read, I read this one a number of times. Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie. Global Warming Blues. Best line in the book. "seems like for Big Men's livin/little folks have got to die" Douglas Kearney. all his poems are like little works of art, you gotta check them out. You could easily frame these to go on yer wall. Tarfia Faizullah. 100 BELLS. the second poem I loved. Probably the scariest thing I've ever read. Fatimah Asghar. PLUTO SHITS ON THE UNIVERSE. haha what a title. I laughed loads at this one, you could really imagine Pluto thinking this. Favourite in the book, tough to choose but this is the winner. The cover is awesome, spent ages trying to figure out all the comic characters. The book is finished off with a collection of essays by the poets, made interesting reading to find out how they had got into hip-hop and the effect it has had on their life. Loved this collection and glad I actually own a copy. Now all I need is for Mr. Kevin Coval to produce an audiobook version of each of the poets reading their work. Blog review is here> https://felcherman.wordpress.com/2018...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chris Drew

    First off, this is a really cool book. The cover is great, the title marvelously summarizes the unity of the collection, and every part of the ideas that drive its existence are clear, thoughtful, and wonderful. I appreciated the diversity of the work, and the variety of voices and perspectives, and was impressed at the scope of the project. It highlights a huge swath of poets, almost all of which I had never heard of before, and many of which were incredibly inventive and pushed some boundaries First off, this is a really cool book. The cover is great, the title marvelously summarizes the unity of the collection, and every part of the ideas that drive its existence are clear, thoughtful, and wonderful. I appreciated the diversity of the work, and the variety of voices and perspectives, and was impressed at the scope of the project. It highlights a huge swath of poets, almost all of which I had never heard of before, and many of which were incredibly inventive and pushed some boundaries. That being said, I do think that the editors could have worked harder to pare the collection down a bit, and cut some of the weaker poems. That is kind of hypocritical, but there were moments between really inspiring pieces when I just got tired of reading it, and I don't think that should happen. I think better editing could have cut some of the poems and arranged the works in a more engaging manner. I was also really turned off by the number of typos in my edition. I didn't keep count, but I'd say I found one almost every time I read for more then 20 minutes. I think that probably turned me against the editors in the first place. It just made the collection seem a little sloppy. Those things aside there were moments I really loved, and having read through it all once it would be perfect for rereading favorites out of. I definitely suggest giving it a try. A couple of my favorites were: "this, here" by Kush Thompson, and "a suite for ol' dirty" by Safia Elhello

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    There’s so much great poetry in this book! It introduced me to a lot of new voices. I’m so annoyed that I read this from the library and have to turn it back in! I need my own copy of this collection and I’m going to be seeking out more work by many of these individuals. Highly recommended!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sidik Fofana

    SIX WORD REVIEW: Some favorites--Horton, Medina, Asghar, Smith.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Preston Stell

    A brilliant collection. I loved so many of the poems (I’ve already ordered 5 new books, and a couple downloaded albums due to reading this). There is something about a wide variety of voices saying many of the same things from varied backgrounds. Hebru Brantley...this is one hell of a cover, it’s not often I would give props to the art of a book...but this is just cool. The index of previously published works is helpful, and the bios were a nice touch, especially with all the pictures. I was thi A brilliant collection. I loved so many of the poems (I’ve already ordered 5 new books, and a couple downloaded albums due to reading this). There is something about a wide variety of voices saying many of the same things from varied backgrounds. Hebru Brantley...this is one hell of a cover, it’s not often I would give props to the art of a book...but this is just cool. The index of previously published works is helpful, and the bios were a nice touch, especially with all the pictures. I was thinking I could have done without the writings in the end, but warmed up to them quickly. I worried that the writings might push to hard to say what the poetry has already done, but the writings only enhanced the poetry. This was a fantastic book and I can’t wait for Black Girl Magic! ! (At least I think that exclamation mark is in the title)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jawanza

    This is the best compilation of contemporary poetry I have read since "Catch the Fire!!!" which was published seventeen years earlier. Between those years I have read many other similar compilations, but none of them are worth mentioning. These poems, just like the ones in "Catch the Fire!!!" made me holler "Wow!", "Yes!" and "Amen!" while wrenching my gut, moving the ground beneath my feet and taking me on the ride of my life.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Murawski

    Like any collection, I enjoyed some poems more than others, but overall this was a great experience. I enjoyed reading the essays at the end, and the little bios, but I had hoped those would be better integrated into the collection rather than all together at the end. Additionally, I could have used more context around the individual poets and their poems - I often found myself wondering about references to streets in Chicago and could have used a footnote or two to really grok.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Greta Mcgee

    The BreakBeat Poets was a phenomenal book. I thought it truly expressed modern poetry and its use of inspiration and safety to people who don't have it all, which is most of us.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    This is one of the best-curated poetry anthologies I've ever read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mela

    read this anthology. if u are a fan of poetree , if u are fan of hiphop, of humanity of culture. these voices are crucial. esp "in defense of the code switch or why you talk like that or why you goyta always be cussin" & "i have a drone for ..." & "unemployemnt" & that pluto poem & & "a locus of control and the erasure" & "mascot" & insight on how hiphop channels duende Nd im word vomitting cause all these voices and words so good & "dear white amerika, with lines from amiri baraka & james baldw read this anthology. if u are a fan of poetree , if u are fan of hiphop, of humanity of culture. these voices are crucial. esp "in defense of the code switch or why you talk like that or why you goyta always be cussin" & "i have a drone for ..." & "unemployemnt" & that pluto poem & & "a locus of control and the erasure" & "mascot" & insight on how hiphop channels duende Nd im word vomitting cause all these voices and words so good & "dear white amerika, with lines from amiri baraka & james baldwin" : read these fuckin poems

  14. 4 out of 5

    Wyrd Witch

    Not every single poem in this collection hit me, but I think that this anthology, this very series, is mandatory for every poetry writer. The poems that succeed bring true artistry to the medium. The rhythm, the sounds, the topics and images brought in my head, are truly amazing and make a true argument for the importance of hip-hop in the revitalization of poetry in the mainstream. I highly recommend getting this text.

  15. 5 out of 5

    df parizeau

    I often come back to this anthology when I am feeling weary about the last book(s) I've read. I never tire of the subversion of form and language in these poems. Each time I feel like I clue into something we that the language is doing and it leaves me eager to re-read the pieces again and again.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Paul Swanson

    Dig it. Kind of demands to be read aloud. A treasure chest. So much content it's intimidating. A very affecting and gifted collection. Excerpts from Wednesday Poem by Joel Dias-Porter aka DJ Renegade: -- -- One of our kids got shot last night, Remember Maurice? Maurice Caldwell. -- -- I wonder why he approached the car, was he hustling crack or weed? Or did he recognize the dude and smile before surprise blossomed across his face and the truth rooted into his flesh. His face flashes before my irises, I see Dig it. Kind of demands to be read aloud. A treasure chest. So much content it's intimidating. A very affecting and gifted collection. Excerpts from Wednesday Poem by Joel Dias-Porter aka DJ Renegade: -- -- One of our kids got shot last night, Remember Maurice? Maurice Caldwell. -- -- I wonder why he approached the car, was he hustling crack or weed? Or did he recognize the dude and smile before surprise blossomed across his face and the truth rooted into his flesh. His face flashes before my irises, I see him horseplaying with Haneef, his hair slicked back into a ponytail. He wrote one poem this whole semester, a battle rap between cartoon characters. Mr. Bruno asks if I still want to teach. I open my folder of nature poems, then close the folder and slump in a chair. What simile can seal a bullet wound? Which student could these pistils protect, here where it's natural to never see seventeen? Excerpts from duck, duck, redux by Evie Shockley: this is the way we wash our face, wash our face, wash our face... this is the way we segregate our schools in 1896. this is the way we segregate our schools in 2007...this is the way we wash our hands of you historically, throw you into the atlantic, spray you with birmingham hoses, this is the way we wash our hands of you today, with jerry-rigged levees, so early, so so early in the millennium. Excerpt from The Future by Lemon Anderson: -- -- we will live in a world ruled by the iron first of the 808, It Was a Good Day by Ice Cube will be illustrated into a children's book, they will paint the Brooklyn bridge Red Black and Green to commemorate SPike Lee, there will finally be some honor amongst us see America's Most Wanted will run an hour special on who killed Jam Master Jay Hollywood will move to Atlanta for balance L.A. will celebrate their independence from the entertainment industry we will respect our gold chains our diamonds -- -- Excerpt from Four Elements of Ghostdance by Reed Bobroff -- -- We dance to remember. We dance until the world is gone. Everyone is gone. The world is a ghost and everything is silent. -- --

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    This collection of modern day free verse (and occasionally metered) poems, all written by poets influenced by hip-hop and rap, covers a broad range of subjects and includes many different poetic styles. There are informal sonnets, free verse pieces, prose poems, and even terza rima-type pieces. While readers should be advised that many of the poems deal with explicit subject matter (including gang violence and graphic sexual acts), they mightn't turn away if they have the stomach for such things. This collection of modern day free verse (and occasionally metered) poems, all written by poets influenced by hip-hop and rap, covers a broad range of subjects and includes many different poetic styles. There are informal sonnets, free verse pieces, prose poems, and even terza rima-type pieces. While readers should be advised that many of the poems deal with explicit subject matter (including gang violence and graphic sexual acts), they mightn't turn away if they have the stomach for such things. The stories of empowerment and real-life struggles told here make it worth the discomfort. And in most cases, the artistry validates it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    "She would have wanted to wear ponytails to class picture day She would have sketched a poem and left it on my pillow She was surrounded by a circle of street pigeons in a city square I miss train stops thinking of what her name Would have been" "..blessings to the cadence of combat captured on concrete and cardboard battlefields." "Say she learns the tongue as a weapon and when she speaks up that her husband is not bullet proof, and that children vanish like smoke but hers are not considered proof of bu "She would have wanted to wear ponytails to class picture day She would have sketched a poem and left it on my pillow She was surrounded by a circle of street pigeons in a city square I miss train stops thinking of what her name Would have been" "..blessings to the cadence of combat captured on concrete and cardboard battlefields." "Say she learns the tongue as a weapon and when she speaks up that her husband is not bullet proof, and that children vanish like smoke but hers are not considered proof of burning." "..we scribble sunlight in the margins of horizons with our songs for all the voices tangled with the silence on our tongues."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tamas O'Doughda

    This is one of the coolest book covers I've ever seen. & The inside is pretty cool as well. Particularly loved Jamila Woods' poetry, which makes me want to further check out her music. I'm on a book-a-week challenge, so I read this straight through and didn't take the time to get too analytical with any of the poems. But I picture myself coming back to it with more leisure in the future, to appreciate some of the poems on an even deeper level. Well worth the read, especially if you take it slow a This is one of the coolest book covers I've ever seen. & The inside is pretty cool as well. Particularly loved Jamila Woods' poetry, which makes me want to further check out her music. I'm on a book-a-week challenge, so I read this straight through and didn't take the time to get too analytical with any of the poems. But I picture myself coming back to it with more leisure in the future, to appreciate some of the poems on an even deeper level. Well worth the read, especially if you take it slow and enjoy it piece by piece, rather than blasting through.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty Stanley

    3.75 - 4 stars Sizeable anthology of break beat poetry and essays. Contains work by both men and women. Can’t admit to understanding all of the references which perhaps affected my enjoyment slightly. Also felt that hearing many performed would be more powerful for me personally. Still managed to bookmark enough to come back to for a re-read. Personally liked the ones with a more political angle or where I could hear the beat from the page.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I liked this collection. However, I wish I could have liked it more. Admittedly, it was nothing to do with the form of poetry or the authors, but rather my own ignorance regarding the references and subject matter. Some were easily understood and packed a big punch, but some flew right over my head. Maybe I would try it again after educating myself more.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    It is a great compilation comprising a wide range of lyricists, poets, wordsmiths, and kids with something to say who want to say it in new ways. Like with any reader, some works did not produce the same effects, but like a good anthology all the works complimented the whole of the project.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Leslea

    This is just okay. Spoken word is spoken for a reason. Hip-hop voices are tremendously important, and I suppose you have to meet the "old guard" of poetry where they are if you want them to hear, but...I think this volume could have done a lot to bridge the divide, but it really didn't.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    This is a great collection--a huge range of voices, dynamic pieces, fun to read silently and aloud. A group of my students performed a piece from this collection by Jose Olivarez and they not only killed it, but they really enjoyed themselves and marked it as a highlight of their time in the class.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Connie Kuntz

    Hot, raunchy, real, loving, vengeful, poignant, disturbing, funny, distancing, inviting, upsetting, and did I mention raunchy? Much is familiar and some of it is shocking. These are young, talented BIPOC poets. Highly recommend.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Turcotte

    Powerful collection and great for educators.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Evans

    Essential.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    an anthology of poetry. so much of it would be better read aloud.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This book was pure magic. It’s a must read for anyone that loves Hip-Hop.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tabitha Vohn

    It was everything I hoped it would be! Review to come...

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