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Mr. West
Sarah Blake

Publication date: August 2, 2016 (paperback)


Wesleyan Poetry Series

Wesleyan
2015 • 128 pp. 6 x 8"
Poetry / Poetry - Women Authors

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7691-0
$24.95 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7517-3

$19.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7518-0

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.



“As a work of literary nonfiction, the book conflates the life of the poet—who began the 46-poem cycle while she was pregnant and living in Havertown, PA—with the controversial superstar rapper.”
Peter Crimmins, WHYY - Newsworks

Identities are formed and broken in this unauthorized lyric biography

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 her work from prose poems to lineated free verse to tightly wound lyrics to improbably successful sestinas. The poems fully engage pop culture as a strange, complicated presence that is revealing of America itself. This is a daring debut collection and a groundbreaking work. An online reader’s companion will be available at http://sarahblake.site.wesleyan.edu.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements:

Mr. West transforms the poet’s fascination with the rapper into an amazing group of poems that explores what she knows or can find out about West, alongside her own life. The poems construct West as unmistakably human and larger than life—as much like as unlike the poet. The work is tender without being sentimental, funny without being cruel, and obsessive without being exploitative. It is a study in nuance and it is strangely moving.”—Evie Shockley, author of the new black

“The plagiarism and copyright battles of the twenty-first century are the equivalent of the obscenity trials of the twentieth. If you’re not making art to be copied, you’re not really making art for the twenty-first century. Taking a page from Kanye West’s book, Sarah Blake embraces and enacts the long history of sharing and sampling from rap music, single-handedly and elegantly bringing poetry into the present moment. Media saturated & wildly musical, brilliantly original & stunningly plundered, this book is now.”—Kenneth Goldsmith, author of Uncreative Writing

From the Book:

God Created Night and It Was Night

Let there be Kanye at the wheel of a black SUV.
Let Kanye fall asleep.
Let the SUV hit another car with another man.
Let that man's legs break and be broken.
Let Kanye be trapped in the car.
Let there be the men that cut him out.

And there was evening and there was morning.

Let Kanye’s mother and girlfriend arrive.
Let the women take care of him.
Let Kanye see his face.
Let the doctor reconstruct his face.
Let Kanye have the breath of life.
Let Kanye lie that he had not fallen asleep.

And there was evening and there was morning.

Let Kanye tell the truth.
Let Kanye’s jaw be wired shut.
Let Kanye write a song.
Let Kanye sing it through that wire.
Let the song reach over all the earth.
Let lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon Kanye.

Bring forth Kanye according to his kind.



SARAH BLAKE is the founder of the online writing tool Submittrs, an editor at Saturnalia Books, and a recipient of an NEA Literature Fellowship. Her poetry has appeared in Boston Review, Drunken Boat, FIELD, and The Threepenny Review. She lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Click here for author's website.


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


Wed, 18 May 2016 10:15:09 -0500