, said the shotgun to the head.

( 10 )


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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, said the shotgun to the head.

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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...

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Amsterdam News [Saul Williams is] a mighty talent. He takes readers on epic voyages into frontiers that offer a refreshing awakening of the mind and a roller coaster ride into an abyss of demons, deities, occult symbols, and more.

Zack de la Rocha , Said the Shotgun to the Head is an invitation to live and die in the moment, a confrontation of the politics of empire, a dare to transform oneself in the face of fear and a post 9-11 love song all in one.

The Washington Post Astonishing...poet. The internal rhyme, metrics, and imagery are so fleet...that they're humbling.

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. (Sept. 2) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743470797
  • Publisher: MTV Books
  • Publication date: 9/16/2003
  • Edition description: First MTV/Pocket Books Trade Paperback E
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 224,387
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Saul Williams

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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2003

    Actually 4.5...but that isn't an option

    This is the third of saul's published work and arguably his best. From the introduction to the last word 'WIND' this is a mesmerizing book. It shines with lines like, 'come see/ how death is a myth/ there are no deceased/ only deceived/ death only awaits those who believed.' ,Said the Shotgun is one long and grand poem...but what is its purpose? No one can deny that Williams has an extraordinary talent for crafting ideas and making it sound good..(thats what being a poet is all about)..but he jumps from subject to subject. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. In poetry versatility is necessary. Nevertheless I love the very fact that a book containing bold lines like 'God has hair on her pussy/ and waits burning with desire for you.../ this is no blasphemy / you have erected / acient penises in your capitols/ and prayed in the name of a father/ a male child and a ghost', are published by MTV Books. This is a great read because of it's inability to walk in straight lines for all 182 pages. Saul talks of Male/Female gods, war, love, emotions, truth, money, relationships, and a kiss. No matter how hard Williams struggles he is, truly, a romantic poet. ,Said The Shotgun To The Head is the kind of book,(or should I say poem)that seeps into your consciousness and years later you see new meanings in his words. This is worth every penny.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2011

    Blown Away! Highly Recommend!

    Just got this book yesterday and have read it twice. Brilliant use of quotes from songs and other known works are expertly blended in with the writers poems. It draws you in like a spell. His focus on how a woman can become a mans every thought and seen in all things is absolutely beautiful. Truly a master poet for our age.

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  • Posted February 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer


    A mastpiece!

    About estacy and love- a 'kiss' that unvailed an ancient secret shining light on the self & indentity (which was lost and reinvented) and repeated history which is found in tomorrows culture. Find out the secret in this book!


    "I surrendered my beliefs and found myself at the tree of life injecting my story into the veins of leaves only to find that stories like forests are subject to seasons."

    "i serve a living God she is a distorted horn solo fingered by the hand of a master time's signature has done no more than punctuate her curvature"

    "the illustrators of bare walls projected their dreams beyond their fears theirs were the wall of crumbled towers the truth still stands"

    "oya, kali ma here is an offering these words recited from my heart to yours and yours i am thankful for the trees shaped coffins that we now shred to bed these words within our cores- paper mills may you recycle all that was stolen and/or lost so that these newest testaments might come at lesser costs"

    "to be free of the rigmarole of age old traditions based on submission and fear one must pay with the courage to stand aloned- to be free of the restraints of a culture that instills the will of material possession and domination into its citizens one must learn to honor the substance of their materials and the etymological roots of their findins"

    "mater: fr. Latin.meaning mother - this is a material world"

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    An AMAZING book! It was almost like another form of Tarot cards. One could probably read this and solve countless problems. It has SO many deeper meaning and symbolism. A must read for all curious readers!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2004

    Brilliant Piece of Contemporary Writing!!!

    This book is simply amazing. Delve into American Culture, Eastern philosophy, and the essence of human nature as you explore a realm of beat and poetic perfection. Invest in this brilliant piece of art.

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    Posted January 16, 2011

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    Posted December 20, 2010

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    Posted April 8, 2009

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    Posted February 23, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2010

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