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

Format:

Paperback

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.

Author

Patricia Smith is the author of five volumes of poetry, including Blood Dazzler, a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award, and Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series selection. She is also the author of the history Africans in America and the award-winning children’s book Janna and the Kings. She is a professor at the City University of New York, and lives in New Jersey with her husband Bruce DeSilva, granddaughter Mikaila, and two dogs, Brady and Rondo.