Optic Subwoof is a collection of talks that poet and National Book Award finalist Douglas Kearney presented for the Bagley Wright Lecture Series in 2020 and 2021.
As kinetic on the page as they are in person, these lectures offer an urgent critique of the intersections between violence and entertainment, interrogating the ways in which poetry, humor, visual art, music, pop culture, and performance alternately uphold and subvert this violence. With genius precision and an avant-garde sensibility, Kearney examines the nuances around Black visibility and its aestheticization. In myriad ways, Optic Subwoof is a book that establishes Kearney as one of the most dynamic writers and thinkers of the twenty-first century.
- You Better Hush: Blacktracking a Visual Poetics #werewolfgoals
- Red/Read, Read/Red: Putting Violence Down in Poetry
- Note on collaboration: Red/Read Version
- I Killed, I Died: Banter, the Poetry Reading, and Self-Destruction
- Appendix: Q&A with Cave Canem
"Kearney's prosody is miraculous.....I can't think of another writer as gifted as Kearney is at sound."—Ken Chen, NPR
“Reading Kearney’s poems is like being inside of a crystal — depending on the time of day and how the light is shining through the crystal, the poem’s meaning can change. It is truly a disorienting prismatic experience."—Victoria Chang, LA Review of Books
"Kearney's exquisite poems dissolve our sight, force us to speak aloud, and compel us to hunt and find within the illogic logic of our lives. Patter is its own genius music—revolutionary, intimate, and everyone's"—Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen
- National Book Award