PAIN: The Board Game

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Pub Date: 10/20/2015

Pages: 160

Publisher: Third Man Books

Imprint: Third Man Books

ISBN 13: 9780991336128

ISBN 10: 0991336127

Price: $17.95 / $23.99 CAN

Category: POETRY / Subjects & Themes / Death, Grief, Loss

PAIN: The Board Game

By Sampson Starkweather, Jon-Michael Frank

Price: $17.95



About the Book

"[A] provocative reinterpretation of poetry's function...Here is devastating meta-poetry for the board game–playing, smartphone-scrolling masses, both accessible and enlightened."—Publisher's Weekly

“Starkweather is creating a living poetry.” —C.D. Wright, author of One With Others, winner 2011 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award

I am of my times and you screengrab out of ancient nowhere, is the title of a poem from Starkweather's second collection, PAIN: The Board Game. The title perfectly captures both his contemporariness and his empathetic treatment of our most primal conditions: "dis- / appointment / & misery / & helplessness / & suffering / & pain / & fear."

As he deploys the #trending and vintage lexicons of technology and pop culture with the depth and ease of a true lyricist, Starkweather pushes his poems into the territory of universal affect and risky humanity, to the root of our desire to connect. This is the contemporary poem that, just after it has "Shazamed / your orgasm" resurrects "the rough magic / of bodies / illuminating / the lack / of any / limitation / when one." Starkweather's unyielding, funny, luminous poetry is a brand new classic.

PAIN:The Board Game is the first analog and online interactive book of poetry with 160 pages of poems that are as visual as they are readable and includes 15 color illustrations by artist Jon-Michael Frank.

3 shots to the chest at the arcade

Sadness is my favorite video game
I am its hero
the little man with facial hair
scampering through pixilated cities
looking for clues
and accumulating shit
without knowing why
trying not
to be crushed
or free fall
into the not-world’s dark
as 8-bit clouds
scroll across the pre-
programmed sky
it’s exhausting
but I take it
next level
I am happy here
it feels real
and I can always die

About the Book

Schopenhauer said life is pain. Starkweather says Pain: The Board Game.


Sampson Starkweather is a new American meta-realist poet born in Pittsboro, North Carolina. He is the author of The First Four Books of Sampson Starkweather and a founding editor of Birds, LLC, an independent poetry press. He is the author of 9 chapbooks, including Flowers of Rad by Factory Hollow Press, the collaborative audio poetry album Flux Capacitor from Black Cake Records, and Until the Joy of Death Hits, a multi-media website of pop/love GIF poems from Spork Press. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.