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To Repel Ghosts

The Remix

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Paperback published by Knopf (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
Revamped from its original "double album" version of 350 pages into this unique "remix," To Repel Ghosts captures the dynamic work and brief life of the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

In spare, jazzlike verse Kevin Young tells the story of Basquiat's rise from the mock prophet and graffiti artist SAMO to one of the hottest painters of the 1980s ("blue-chip Basquiat / playing the bull / market"), exploring the artist's bouts with fame and heroin, mourning his untimely death, and celebrating his legacy. Along the way Young riffs on Basquiat's paintings and sayings, on the music he loved, on the artists he ran with (Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, among them), and on the black heroes (Charlie Parker, Muhammad Ali, Billie Holiday) who inspired him.

Young's poetic channeling of Basquiat--a jostling, poignant brand of downtownspeak--makes for an urban epic in the tradition of Langston Hughes's "A Dream Deferred." To Repel Ghosts, along with Young's Jelly Roll: A Blues and Black Maria, his recent book of film noir verse, forms an American trilogy--Devil's Music--that explores other art forms through poetry. In its creation, Yound has become a poet whose work speaks both for and beyond his genre, with a music all its own.
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Revamped from its original "double album" version of 350 pages into this unique "remix," To Repel Ghosts captures the dynamic work and brief life of the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

In spare, jazzlike verse Kevin Young tells the story of Basquiat's rise from the mock prophet and graffiti artist SAMO to one of the hottest painters of the 1980s ("blue-chip Basquiat / playing the bull / market"), exploring the artist's bouts with fame and heroin, mourning his untimely death, and celebrating his legacy. Along the way Young riffs on Basquiat's paintings and sayings, on the music he loved, on the artists he ran with (Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, among them), and on the black heroes (Charlie Parker, Muhammad Ali, Billie Holiday) who inspired him.

Young's poetic channeling of Basquiat--a jostling, poignant brand of downtownspeak--makes for an urban epic in the tradition of Langston Hughes's "A Dream Deferred." To Repel Ghosts, along with Young's Jelly Roll: A Blues and Black Maria, his recent book of film noir verse, forms an American trilogy--Devil's Music--that explores other art forms through poetry. In its creation, Yound has become a poet whose work speaks both for and beyond his genre, with a music all its own.
Product Details
Paperback (320 pages)
Published: September 27, 2005
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Knopf
ISBN: 9780375710230
Other books byKevin Young
  • Unsolved Texas Mysteries

    Unsolved Texas Mysteries
    For about as long as there has been a Texas there have been Texas mysteries, and many of them remain unsolved. What happened to the documents captured in the Alamo? Does a ghost actually haunt the state capitol in Austin? Did the U.S. Army secretly bury hundreds of guns in North Texas after WWII? Was John Wilkes Booth killed or did he escape and flee to Central Texas? The authors present the known facts and circumstances of these and other mysteries.

    Black Maria

    Black Maria
    Kevin Young follows his acclaimed exploration of the blues in Jelly Roll with another playful riff on a vital art form, giving us a film noir in verse. Black Maria–the title is a slang term for a police van as well as a hearse–is a twisting tale of suspicion, passion, mystery, and the city. Young channels the world of detective movies, picking up its lingo and dark glamour in five “reels” of poetry–the adventures of a “soft-boiled” private eye, known as A.K.A. Jones, and an ingenue turned femme fatale, Delilah Redbone, who’s come to town from down south (“Mama bent till dark / tending rows to send / Me to school . . . I wanted / To head on & hitch . . . strike it / Big”). We follow Jones and Delilah through a maze of aliases and ambushes, sex and suspicions, fast talk and hard luck, in Shadowtown where noir characters abound. The Killer, The Gunsel, The Hack, The Director, The Champ, and The Snitch are among the local luminaries and beautiful losers who mingle with Jones and his elusive lady as they stalk one another through the scenes of the poet’s dazzling “treatment.” Charming, funky, bleak, humorous, picaresque, and full of pathos, Black Maria is brimming with the originality and stark lyricism we have come to expect from this remarkable poet. When we met her first request: Got a light? * I only had dark so gave her that instead. * Ashtray full of butts & maybes. * The sound of her heels down the hall to me means reveille. (from “Stills”) Click on the poem titles below to hear Kevin Young read from Black Maria. From the Hardcover edition.

    Deviance and Social Control in Sport

    Deviance and Social Control in Sport
    The world of sport offers a deep—and often-overlooked—source for the study of deviance and its development and impact on society. Deviance and Social Control in Sport challenges preconceived understandings regarding the relationship of deviance and sport and offers a conceptual framework for future work in a variety of sociological subfields. Drawing on their cutting-edge research in criminology and deviance in the discipline of sociology, Atkinson and Young provide a textured understanding of sport-related deviance through the application of various approaches to deviance in a sport context. Using extended case studies, the authors examine the subject of deviance through examples that are popular (fan violence, hockey enforcers, effect of the media), understudied (sport-related violence against animals, athletes as on-field victims of violence), or emerging (sport security, drugs and weight control, cybernetic athletes, extreme sports). This engaging presentation allows readers to fully understand the effects of sport deviance in society. Deviance and Social Control in Sport explains how forms of wanted and unwanted rule violation are produced by and mediated through social contexts in and around sport. As such, it explores -how deviance in sport is culturally constructed and ideologically framed in dynamic and interactive contexts; -the pathways certain athletes follow in becoming deviant and how they learn to associate those behaviors with their core identities; and -the social responses to deviant sporting behaviors, including the role of the media in disseminating images and messages about the behavior in question. The text begins by presenting the theoretical background necessary for understanding deviance, followed by a look at deviance as an individual issue, how it is defined, and how authorities attempt to control it. The authors make the material accessible to readers by using case studies drawn from their own empirical research. The cases show how sociologists interpret and explain the actions of athletes as well as how deviance is layered by various levels of audience interpretation. Driven by a single theory or a range of integrated theoretical approaches, the case studies encourage readers to engage in differing perspectives about deviance in sport culture. The theories are further examined in each chapter through special elements called Theoretical Intersections, which highlight how the sociology of sport meets the sociology of deviance. Discussion questions and recommended readings synthesize the information and stimulate critical thinking and research to conclude each chapter. By considering networks of social relationships and how they produce, define, and police rule violation and rule violators, Deviance and Social Control in Sport offers a nuanced and integrated explanation of sport deviance that accounts for the behaviors and practices of both individuals and teams. This interdisciplinary text challenges readers to explore the dimensions and analytic merit of a full spectrum of crime and deviancy theories, thus stimulating a broader discussion of rule breaking in sport.

    Jelly Roll

    Jelly Roll
    In this jaunty and intimate collection, Kevin Young invents a language as shimmying and comic, as low-down and high-hearted, as the music from which he draws inspiration. With titles such as “Stride Piano,” “Gutbucket,” and “Can-Can,” these poems have the sharp completeness of vocalized songs and follow a classic blues trajectory: praising and professing undying devotion (“To watch you walk / cross the room in your black / corduroys is to see / civilization start”), only to end up lamenting the loss of love (“No use driving / like rain, past / where you at”). As Young conquers the sorrow left on his doorstep, the poems broaden to embrace not just the wisdom that comes with heartbreak but the bittersweet wonder of triumphing over adversity at all. Sexy and tart, playfully blending an African American idiom with traditional lyric diction, Young’s voice is pure American: joyous in its individualism and singing of the self at its strongest. From the Hardcover edition.

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