Shopping Cart Link

Wesleyan University Press

Sign up for our newsletter

Bookmark and Share
Cart link
Hardcover add to cart
Paperback add to cart

For Educators
View cart
Add exam ebook
Cover image Click for larger image

The Little Edges
Fred Moten

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2014 • 96 pp. 8 x 10"
Poetry / African-American Studies

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7670-5
$22.95 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7505-0

$12.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7506-7

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“The poetic vision, or sound, of The Little Edges is remarkable in its range of reference, deep music, surprise at every turn, softness of lyric address coupled with political meditation, and undeniable beauty.”—Maggie Nelson, author of Bluets and The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning

Poems that play in the sonic texture of discourses

The Little Edges is a collection of poems that extends poet Fred Moten’s experiments in what he calls “shaped prose”—a way of arranging prose in rhythmic blocks, or sometimes shards, in the interest of audio-visual patterning. Shaped prose is a form that works the “little edges” of lyric and discourse, and radiates out into the space between them. As occasional pieces, many of the poems in the book are the result of a request or commission to comment upon a work of art, or to memorialize a particular moment or person. In Moten’s poems, the matter and energy of a singular event or person are transformed by their entrance into the social space that they, in turn, transform. An online reader’s companion is available at

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements:

“The poems in The Little Edges work the margins of language—the African American vernacular with its powerfully kinetic resources as well as the more elevated and elegant language of the academy—blending and juxtaposing them in ways that result in an utterly fresh poetic idiom.”—M. NourbeSe Philip, author of Zong!

“Moten's work is free speech in the best sense—musical but with heft—and will appeal to those who prefer their poetry to be ‘beyond category.’”—Chris Pusateri, Library Journal

“Moten pays homage to jazz history, poetry history, and the illimitable future of the imagination in works organized less autonomous poems than in page-length lines, blocks of text, and short riffs.”
Publishers Weekly

From the Book:


the praline of amusement and

my cliometric pearl can’t call it,
curve unnumbered. you can’t

ride that long, you can’t turn

that far, that cold coming and
going in and out of snow. the
speed of our washing is blinding

and our devotion is laughing
without a name or song. This is

our music. we’re many hymns

in love with one another

warring out of circle almost,
almost frozen, color become

shape, you put your coat on me.

FRED MOTEN is a professor of English at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Arkansas, Poems (with Jim Behrle), I ran from it but was still in it, Hughson’s Tavern, B Jenkins, The Feel Trio, and the critical works In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition and The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study (with Stefano Harney).

This project is supported in part by an award from
National Endowment for the Arts

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 14:21:34 -0500