The Black Automaton by Douglas Kearney (Fence Books, paperback)
Publication Date: November 15, 2009
Publisher Marketing: Poetry. African American Studies. Winner of the National Poetry Series, selected by Catherine Wagner. From ambivalent animals thriving after Katrina to party chants echoing in a burning city, THE BLACK AUTOMATON troubles rubble, cobbling a kind of life. In this collection bodies at risk seek renewal through violence and fertility, history and myth, flesh and radios.
"First, you have to see Douglas Kearney's visual poems, which cheekily diagram cultural memes as if they were parts of speech (as they are). THE BLACK AUTOMATON has its share of sharp, tender lyrics, too...these exploit the political possibilities of puns and the way meanings hinge on inexact resemblance. Kearney's poems tweak and skewer pop culture and literary sources from Paul Laurence Dunbar to T. S. Eliot to traditional ballads and blues...Kearney's work turns poetic and cultural conventions disquietingly inside out."—Catherine Wagner