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Boy with Thorn

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Description

Winner of the 2016 Levis Reading Prize

Winner of the 2014 Cave Canem Poetry Prize

Finalist for the 2017 Kate Tufts Discovery Award


In a landscape at once the brutal American South as it is the brutal mind, Boy with Thorn interrogates the genesis of all poetic creation—the imagination itself, questioning what role it plays in both our fascinations with and repulsion from a national history of racial and sexual violence. The personal and political crash into one language here, gothic as it is supple, meditating on visual art and myth, to desire, the practice of lynching and Hurricane Katrina. Always at its center, though, is the poet himself—confessing a double song of pleasure and inevitable pain.

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 21, 2015 – Laurentiis's debut collection, winner of the 2014 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, oscillates between a lament for the brutalization of black bodies throughout history and a celebration of the pleasures of sexuality and desire. Many of Laurentiis's poems fixate on white portrayals of blackness in Classical, Dutch Golden Age, and Southern Gothic art, echoing Natasha Trethewey's examinations of visual art in her collection Thrall. Laurentiis's speaker often revels in representations of queer sexuality in canonical art, inventing personal mythologies in the form of narrative ekphrastic poetry, as in the book's title poem. At other times the poet elegizes the violence endured by black, queer bodies, as in "I Saw I Dreamt Two Men," a poem written in response to antihomosexuality laws passed in some African nations. That poem seeks to honor the lives of queer Africans, though it manages to reproduce elements of Western privilege. It's an example of an anxious tension that haunts the book; Laurentiis's difficulty in reconciling his relationship to canonical art, art's relationship to white supremacy, and his dual celebration of and mourning for lives at society's margins. Yet Laurentiis possesses the formal tools of a strong poet, and instead of reading too deeply into such a sociopolitical critique, potential readers should see that this promising writer still has room to grow.
Boy with Thorn
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Poetry
  • Published: Sep 30, 2015
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Seller: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Print Length: 88 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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