Mr. West

Mr. West

3.85 (106 ratings by Goodreads)
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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
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Product details

  • Hardback | 128 pages
  • 160.02 x 208.28 x 15.24mm | 317.51g
  • Wesleyan University Press
  • Hanover, United States
  • English
  • 0819575178
  • 9780819575173

Review quote

"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 "The central connection Blake makes . . . is between herself, as impending mother to a son, and Kanye's mother, Dr. Donda West. A touching elegiac strain is evident throughout these poems of motherhood."--New York Times Review

"...neither the cynic nor the realist need worry that Blake is merely using that mercurial genius as an attention-grabbing gimmick. No, Mr. West is a book that is in utterly good faith."--Andrew DuBois, The New York Times Book Review

"Impressive for both its hybridity and its ambition . . . Mr. West is an important entry into the ongoing literary conversation on race that would be worthwhile to read alongside Claudia Rankine's Citizen and Kevin Young's The Grey Album."--Kathleen Rooney, Chicago Tribune

"Mr. West is no simple rehashing of its subject's well-trod life story. Rather, Mr. West serves as bible, myth, apology, defense, and memoir. The whole thing memorably swirls around its enigmatic and challenging muse, who in turn acts as God, as son, as lover, as martyr, as monster. The result is engaging and often dazzling."--Danny Caine, Los Angeles Review

"By putting [Sarah Blake & Kanye West's] lives in conversation, she provokes her readers to wonder: 'What are we able to know about superstars, as far as we are from their fabulous orbits? What are we ever able to know definitively about the experience of someone else?' Her answer: people have a great deal to learn from their experience of celebrities, particularly the feeling--familiar to all who have considered themselves fans--of identifying with a person whom one has likely never seen in person."--Poetry Foundation

"Through her poetry, Kanye becomes as sharp and multifaceted as a diamond, with a reflection that changes every time you look at it."--Elisabeth Donnelly, Flavorwire

"In Mr. West, the complicated relationships between poet and artist, poet and legacy, poet and source material, artist and legacy, and any permutations thereof create a new kind of modern myth--the kind that, even though it may be a fabrication, can actually have personal meaning."--Douglas Luman, Found Poetry Review

"In Blake's collection of lyric meditations, the blend of her own personal threads against Kanye's public self are intriguing, and her pop culture commentaries allow the distraction against her being able to dig further into what, at times, becomes a deeply personal and revealing work."--Rob McLennan, Rob McLennon's Blog
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About Sarah Blake

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.
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Rating details

106 ratings
3.85 out of 5 stars
5 32% (34)
4 38% (40)
3 18% (19)
2 8% (9)
1 4% (4)
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