L-vis Lives!
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Pub Date: 10/04/2011

Pages: 120

Publisher: Haymarket Books

Imprint: Haymarket Books

ISBN 13: 9781608461516

ISBN 10: 1608461513

Price: $16.00 / $17.50 CAN

Category: POETRY / American / General

L-vis Lives!

By Patricia Smith, Kevin Coval

Price: $16.00



About the Book

FROM THE POET the Chicago Tribune calls “the new voice of Chicago,” comes L-vis Lives!, a bold new collection of poetry and prose exploring the collision of race, art, and appropriation in American culture.

L-vis is an imagined persona, a representation of artists who have used and misused Black music. Like so many others who gained fame and fortune from their sampling, L-vis is as much a sincere artist as he is a thief. In Kevin Coval's poems, L-vis' story is equal parts forgotten history, autobiography, and re-imaginings. We see shades of Elvis Presley, the Beastie Boys, and Eminem, and meet some of history's more obscure “whiteboy” heroes and anti-heroes: legendary breakdancers, political activists, and music impresarios.

A story of both artistic theft and radical invention, L-vis Lives! is a poetic novella on all of the possibilities and problems of “post-racial” American culture—where Black art is still at times only fully accepted in a white face, and every once in a while an “L-vis” comes along to step in to the void.

i am a hero
to most. the great hope
of something other.
a complex back-story.
something other than
the business of my father.
bland’s antonym.
jim crow’s black sheep.
the forgotten son
left to rise in the darkness
among the dis
carded in the wild
of working class, single
mother hoods. a hero
who transcends
who translates the dis
satisfactions of the plains;
kids of kurt cobain,
method man amphetamine,
the odd Iowan who digs dirt
and lights beyond the pig yard,
spits nebraskan argot,
hero to the heart
land, middle brow(n) america

About the Book

L-vis Lives! in this poetic novella on the collision of race, art, and appropriation in American culture.


Patricia Smith is the author of eight books of poetry, including Incendiary Art; Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Blood Dazzler, a National Book Award finalist; and Gotta Go, Gotta Flow, a collaboration with award-winning Chicago photographer Michael Abramson.Kevin Coval played semi-pro ball in Wales in the mid-90s which says more about the condition of ball in Wales at the time then it does about his game. Coval is also the author of ten books including A People’s History of Chicago, editor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, & co-wrote the play, This is Modern Art with Idris Goodwin. Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors which won a MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions in 2016. Coval is the founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival & co-hosts the podcast The Cornerstore on WGN Radio. His work has appeared on The Daily Show, 4 seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, CNN.com, Poetry Magazine & Fake Shore Drive, He teaches hip-hop poetics in high schools, colleges & community centers around the globe. Find him on the interconnected networks @kevincoval.