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Tug
Stephen Todd Booker



Wesleyan Poetry Series

Wesleyan
1994 • 64 pp. 5 illus. 5 1/2 x 8"
Poetry / African-American Studies

$14.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-1215-4



An inmate on Florida’s death row writes piercingly of incarceration, racism and growing up.

Stephen Todd Booker, an inmate on Florida’s death row, writes piercingly of incarceration. But he also sings, in a voice at once jagged and polished, of racism in Brooklyn and the South and of growing up black in 20th-century America, as he examines his life experience with metaphors that test the limits of language.

Reviews / Endorsements

“Poems like nothing ever done before. In an act of spontaneous craft Booker distinguishes between idiom, vernacular, and diction, giving us a hard-wrought and complex language—a match for his ideas. Tug is a personal odyssey . . . It will make its mark in the world.”—Hayden Carruth

“The reader soon decides that neither magic nor malevolence shall overwhelm this author. Technical fireworks. Independent energy.”Gwendolyn Brooks

“There is only so much the English language can do. Stephen Booker in Tug tries to make it do more. The very effort results in marvelous iniquities, extending and dogged . . . Familiar personality is here, and he has an inclusive interest in looking directly into the eyes of life and conceding that in them are to be found not only what is in a number of ways magic but also — distinctly — what is terrifyingly malevolent. The strength of Tug lies in its original subject matter, prison life, and the excellence of the language with which Booker portrays that life. In the face of renewed interest in traditional forms, Tug disproves the idea that only ‘genteel’ subjects can be handled in them!” —Brenda Galvin



STEPHEN TODD BOOKER’s poetry has appeared in Kenyon Review, Seneca Review, Yankee, Cream City Review, and other journals. He published the chapbook Waves & license in 1983.



Sun, 19 Mar 2017 19:04:34 -0500