Said the Shotgun to the Head

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9780743470797: Said the Shotgun to the Head

The greatest Americans
Have not been born yet
They are waiting quietly
For their past to die
please give blood
Here is the account of a man so ravished by a kiss that it distorts his highest and lowest frequencies of understanding into an Incongruent mean of babble and brilliance...

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About the Author:

Saul Williams is an acclaimed poet, musician, and actor. The film Slam, which he cowrote and starred in, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival (1998), and the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. He has contributed to The New York Times, voiced Jean-Michel Basquiat in Downtown 81, and cut records with Rick Rubin and Trent Reznor. He has spoken at more than 200 universities where his poetry has been added to the curriculum of dozens of creative writing programs, and has taught poetry/performance workshops around the world. He recently starred in the Broadway musical Holler If Ya Hear Me. His books include S/HE, ,said the shotgun to the head., and The Dead Emcee Scrolls. He lives in New York. Visit his website at SaulWilliams.com.

From Publishers Weekly:

Williams co-wrote and starred in the film Slam, was featured in the documentaries Slam Nation and I'll Make Me a World, and rapped to Rick Rubin-produced tracks on his hybrid album Amethyst Rock Star. Following The Seventh Octave (1998) and S/he (1999), Williams's third print collection (this time with no CD), is described as an "epic," and begins with a chilling epigraph from Paul Robeson on the warped combine of Western values, creativity, star power and suicide. It prefigures the set of toxic contradictions Williams attempts to negotiate, moving quickly into big-fonted oracular mode, channeling "those ships that never sailed/ the ones with their seacocks open/ that lied scuttled in their stalls/ TODAY/ i bring them back/ HUGE AND INTRANSITORY"-simultaneously invoking thwarted ambition, sexual exposure, the Middle Passage, and attempts to "lie" (dissimulate as well as collapse) through it all. Throughout the book, Williams draws on messianic postures and pronouncements that are non-starters, dragging out the most shopworn heresies and tropes: "we will wait through the degenerate course/ of your repeated history/ we will wait for the past to die." Yet such moments are repeatedly undercut by brief, understated bouts of lyrical intimacy and self-scrutiny: "i cannot make/ your past disappear/ only rabbits, my love/ only rabbits." It is through their juxtaposition that readers glimpse the pathos of a poet struggling with a literally unspeakable historical past, and deeply unworkable present-as well as levity in the futility of trying to dispel it all with corporate-backed, art-based bunnies. (A mock interview between a "Journalist" and "Maned Character" delves into the contradictions of being published by MTV.) The end result is an oblique attempt at moving past flawed concepts of gender, violence, race, religion and exchange, proceeding by sheer will and sometimes a "turn the music up" determination. Despite an absurdly overblown conclusion, it works-almost despite itself.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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