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The Big Smoke (Penguin Poets) - Softcover

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9780143123729: The Big Smoke (Penguin Poets)
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Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the National Book Award in Poetry--a collection that examines the myth and history of the prizefighter Jack Johnson
    The legendary Jack Johnson (1878-1946) was a true American creation. The child of emancipated slaves, he overcame the violent segregationism of Jim Crow, challenging white boxers--and white America--to become the first African-American heavyweight world champion. The Big Smoke, Adrian Matejka's third work of poetry, follows the fighter's journey from poverty to the most coveted title in sports through the multi-layered voices of Johnson and the white women he brazenly loved. Matejka's book is part historic reclamation and part interrogation of Johnson's complicated legacy, one that often misremembers the magnetic man behind the myth.

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About the Author:
Adrian Matejka is a graduate of the Southern Illinois University Carbondale MFA program. The author of The Devil's Garden and Mixology, which was a winner of the National Poetry Series. his work has appeared in the American Poetry Review, The Best American PoetryPloughshares, and Poetry. He teaches creative writing at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Review:
"Jack Johnson, the world's first African-American heavyweight champion of the world, comes so boldly to life in these poems one almost wants to duck." --The Boston Globe

"Matejka's Jack Johnson is a deeply flawed hero of American history -- balanced between heroic success and human failure, between worldwide acclaim and personal evil, between black and white, right and wrong. The tension is so powerful that there's no putting this book down."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"[The Big Smoke] is a rich, sometimes disturbing portrait of a fascinating, flawed and complex man." --The Washington Post

"With the lean, long jab and agile step of a boxer, Adrian Matejka delivers this knockout dramatization of the larger-than-life life of heavyweight champion Jack Johnson. In dexterous interpolating voices, and in forms ranging from enveloping sonnets to prose letters and interviews, Johnson emerges as a scrappy, hard-edged hero--troubled by his own demons but determined to win the 'fight of the century,' a fight that underscored the bitter realities of racism in America. These poems don't pull no punches." --2013 National Book Award Citation 

"[A]n imaginative work by a commanding poet who engages the history and mythology of larger-than-life boxer Jack Johnson." --2014 Pulitzer Prize Citation

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  • PublisherPenguin Books
  • Publication date2013
  • ISBN 10 0143123726
  • ISBN 13 9780143123729
  • BindingPaperback
  • Edition number1
  • Number of pages128
  • Rating
    4.06 avg rating
    ( 489 ratings by Goodreads )

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Book Description Paperback. Condition: new. Paperback. A suite of poems examining the myth and history of the legendary prizefighter Jack Johnson-a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award-from the author, with Youssef Daoudi, of the graphic novel Last on His Feet- Jack Johnson and the Battle of the CenturyThe legendary Jack Johnson (1878-1946) was a true American creation. The child of emancipated slaves, he overcame the violent segregationism of Jim Crow, challenging white boxers-and white America-to become the first African-American heavyweight world champion. The Big Smoke, Adrian Matejka's third work of poetry, follows the fighter's journey from poverty to the most coveted title in sports through the multi-layered voices of Johnson and the white women he brazenly loved. Matejka's book is part historic reclamation and part interrogation of Johnson's complicated legacy, one that often misremembers the magnetic man behind the myth. Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. Seller Inventory # 9780143123729

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