Library Book Club

Library Book Club : Foundation Events

Friday, Apr 19, 12:30PM–1:30PM

Poetry Foundation
61 West Superior Street

All experience levels are welcome to a monthly book group moderated by library staff. In 2013, the library will ask individuals from varied backgrounds to select a title that has been meaningful to them. Space is limited to 15 participants. Please register in advance by emailing


April’s curator, Jeff Gordinier, selected Kevin Young’s To Repel Ghosts: The Remix for the following reasons:
“I happen to love it when poets get wildly ambitious — we could probably use more of that, these days — and To Repel Ghosts: The Remix makes no secret of Kevin Young's burning desire to deliver a big book, a book that contains multitudes. To Repel Ghosts is a biography, in verse, of the American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and nearly every page twists and teems with the late painter's provocative, enigmatic, knotty approach to language and image. As we move through these pages we feel as though we get to know a man who specialized in seeming unknowable. But To Repel Ghosts is much more than a portrait. It's about New York. It's about money. It's about celebrity. (Andy Warhol emerges as a major character.) It's about blackness, and the imprint that African-American artists and leaders have left on our culture, and the ways in which the establishment has often chewed them up. (Along the road we bump into the phantom-like forms of Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, Jack Johnson and Muhammad Ali, Thelonious Monk and Langston Hughes.) Over time I have come to see the book as a tour de force. Every time I pick it up, I get lost in it.”
Jeff Gordinier is a staff writer for The New York Times and the author of 2008's X Saves the World.

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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