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Mr West 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 http sarahblakesitewesleyanedu

About the Author: Sarah Blake

Librarian Note There is than one author in the Goodreads' database with this name

10 thoughts on “Mr West

  1. Kathleen Kathleen says:

    My review for the Chicago Tribune you set out to write a poetry collection about Kanye West someone who is himself arguably one of the most brilliant and influential poets of the 21st century so far then it had better be good Sarah Blake's debut book Mr West — impressive for both its hybridity and its ambition — is very good She describes it as an unauthorized lyric biography and in it she juxtaposes West's life as a celebrity with her own as an artist and soon to be motherThe result — which could be considered a book length essay — is fascinating not just for the unknowable superstar burning at its center but also because Blake is a formal acrobat capable of prose poems lineated lyrics and even a bitter and witty sestina Twilight Starring Kanye all executed with intelligence sensitivity and a willingness to engage difficult issues with irreverent humor and grace Even the Notes and Further Reading get their own title The Unending World that Connects Us and read less like a set of references and like an essayRelatedly if you set yourself the task of writing across difference — in this case as a white woman writing about a black man — you have to consider how to make your engagement not an act of exploitation or tone deaf identification but rather one of illumination and sympathetic understanding Blake seems to pose the uestion How can a woman who grew up saying I listen to everything but country and rap write effectively about Kanye? She goes on to answer that uestion implicitly — and sometimes explicitly — on every page noting A white woman has privilege but not power A black celebrity has privilege but not power and also discrimination Has it in his hands his hood buried in the pavement against his face In so doing she is able to suggest that at its best art can help people reach across what divides them That said Blake is never so careful that the book ends up boring The work takes plenty of risks as it explores a figure who even at the height of his fame identifies correctly as among the dispossessed As she notes in In Song Kanye compared himself to Emmett Till again and People have been outraged but Kanye must feel a connection to this boy And because of Kanye Emmett's story is on the internet again 65 years later Kanye knows what appropriation isBlake understands that Kanye is an object of superlative and vitriol and that he like much of the best poetry exists in a kind of provocative ambiguity What can we know about a celebrity the book wonders but also what are we ever able to know about the experience of anyone outside ourselves?Stars both are and are not just like us They get married like West and like Blake They have parents and kids like West and like Blake They lose people they love She plays with the idea of what we can and can't confirm about others in Kanye's Skeletal System interrupting herself with Oh god fact checker and Fact checker pleaseIn Adventures she reminds the reader of West's unscripted comments at NBC's A Concert for Hurricane Relief in response to Katrina Although they were — and remain — controversial West's remarks get at the heart of storytelling I hate the way they portray us in the media he said You see a black family it says 'They're looting' You see a white family it says 'They're looking for food'In a world where some versions of the truth are unjustly taken as truer than others the truth of George Zimmerman over Trayvon Martin of Darren Wilson over Michael Brown of Daniel Pantaleo over Eric Garner and on and on Blake's hybridity is an attempt to make space for the plurality of lives in America In this sense 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 AlbumMr West reminds the reader that The mouths we speak with are hidden by other mouths but also that it's possible to imagine as she does in the poem Hate Is for Hitler that We enter into discourse thinking first love

  2. Roxanne Roxanne says:

    Finished this last night and really really enjoyed it Sarah's doing something here with intertwining meditations on Kanye into her own very different life that feels very fresh and is incredibly accessible while remaining poetic and meaningful

  3. Scribd Scribd says:

    What exactly does Sarah Blake a pregnant Jewish poet living outside Philadelphia see of herself in the megastar Kanye West? This strange and wonderful cycle of poems doesn’t provide an answer so much as it enacts one In “The Fallible Face” Emmanuel Levinas is “featured” like a guest collaborator and the existentialist philosopher’s lines form an unexpected counterpoint to Blake’s own In “The Week Kanye Joined Twitter” she blends images of ostentatious wealth with visions of nymphs in a way that somehow elevates bothLike the best hip hop artists Blake is a skilled remixer borrowing lines both famous and obscure sacred and occasionally very profane revealing alternate meanings by way of skillful juxtaposition In addition to sampling Kanye’s own lyrics and uotes she also borrows from Greek mythology Twilight and YouTube comments The result is a consistently surprising meditation on what it means to identify with an artist

  4. Nat Nat says:

    I'm not usually drawn to poetry but I'm so glad I escaped my literary comfort zone for this book Blake's poems are simply structured and accessible but are still complex and gorgeously written Mr West isn't so much a biography of Kanye West's life but a record of observations about privilege racism identity and family in America as well as commentary on the cult mentality that is imbedded into our society when it comes to celebrity Blake finds surprising ways to empathize with Kanye and the people in his life as she attempts to understand her role as a mother and a Jew living in the aftermath of WWII Will be rereading

  5. Kenyatta Jean-Paul Garcia Kenyatta Jean-Paul Garcia says:

    If I was familiar and especially if I was in love with Kanye this would have been a five star book It tugs at your sensations in several directions all at one time This is a book of nuances Over the top and subtle both simultaneously and alternating Erasure becomes exposure Contempt is turned inside out so we can commune with the subject behind the sentiments The larger than life is reduced to piecemeal stanzas Bite sized humor and empathy

  6. Jamie Erickson Jamie Erickson says:

    this book was absolutely incredible I've always had a mild fascination with Kanye and didn't realize that this book would revolve around him before I began it I should have known with the title and all what I didn't realize until reaching gaze was that this book is also about compassion humanizing the monster so to speak so good I've already recommended it to several people

  7. lea lea says:

    I was as excited to read this as I was upset that someone wrote a book of poetry about Kanye West before I did I absolutely adored this collection The concept was intriguing and the actual poetry is truly wonderful

  8. Torii Johnson Torii Johnson says:

    uotesthe mouths we speak with are hidden by our other mouthswomen are familiar with how not to scare someone who's in danger I want to spend my poem smilingthe blood helps because the heart helps because the electricity moves uswhen I wanted to put my fingers through your hair I wasn't saying Can I touch it? I was saying caressyou used over forty exclamation marks and I think that's how America needs to be spoken toI am encouraged to paint myself the foolTo humble me Humiliate me

  9. Ally Ally says:

    So there it is A book of poetry about Kanye West And I read it And I liked it I'm not sure what that says about me Sarah Blake is a good writer though I found the blacked out lyrics incredibly frustrating and she tackles Kanye's celebrity status his family life his car accident racism his mother's death with grace and poignancy Is it gimmicky? I don't know But it's good writing regardless

  10. Liz Cettina Liz Cettina says:

    she really loves Kanye and is pregnant when she talks about it Kanye is half what makes my heart

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