by Stephen Todd Booker

An inmate on Florida’s death row writes piercingly of incarceration, racism and growing up.See more details below


An inmate on Florida’s death row writes piercingly of incarceration, racism and growing up.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Comments Booker ( Waves & license ) in ``Requiem,'' ``How / Very sweet I would be seen as being / If willing to drop what takes guts to cite--'', and indeed, this is a challenging book. The writer is an inmate on Florida's death row, but his imagination is unconfined, ranging far both spatially and temporally. In ``Wisdom,'' he remembers as a kid in Brooklyn chasing and abusing a shoeless Jewish man: ``We kids hurried back to our own hometurf, / Back to the things we cared about and knew. / And you know what . . . ? It was good to be home. / It was good to have homes, shoes.'' In the chilling ``The Wrong Boy,'' Booker describes in the first person a man hunting down his great grandfather's lynchers: ``They had all worn that same questioning, / Quizzical sort of look near to where just / Before when I cured them, of everything.'' The poems chart both sides of violence, racism and despair. No wonder Booker imagines critics to be ``entrapped by the fury / Eking out of my pen,'' or that ``jongleurs of an oblique critique / Had me metaphored into something paused, / Although my aim was straight and true.'' His poetry is written without allegiances, speaking openly ``about things not to be said aloud'' and ``unawed by the thawed out realities / that shine in from afar.'' (May)

Product Details

Wesleyan University Press
Publication date:
Wesleyan Poetry Series
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

What People are saying about this

Hayden Carruth
“Poems like nothing ever done before. In an act of spontaneous craft Booker distinguishes between idiom, vernacular, and diction, giving us a hard-wrought and complex language—a match for his ideas. Tug is a personal odyssey . . . It will make its mark in the world.”
Gwendolyn Brooks
“The reader soon decides that neither magic nor malevolence shall overwhelm this author. Technical fireworks. Independent energy.”

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