>, said the shotgun to the head – by Saul Williams

> So… I believe this is the first book of poetry I’ve ever reviewed here. This is actually a re-read for me: I honestly believe that almost all poetry should be read outside in the grass, but I featured this book yesterday for the “30-Day Book Challenge” on Sarah Says on Facebook and then I started flipping through it and what do you know? I went and re-read it in no time.

If you’ve ever seen the film Slam Nation, you might already know who Saul Williams is – he’s done slam poetry, music, etc. I have all 4 of his books of poetry, and this MIGHT be a favorite. What we have here is essentially one long poem. As Williams describes in the intro to the book,

“Here is the account of a man so ravished by a kiss that it distorts his highest and lowest frequencies of understanding into an incongruent mean of babble and brilliance. ”

That’s the idea behind the poem – it’s the result of a mind-shattering, earth-stopping kiss. And as Williams said, it’s both “babble and brilliance”. I love SO many lines in this book, but there are an equal amount that I’m still trying to decipher myself. I think that next time I re-read this book, I’m going to do it outloud (where no one can hear my of course), because after all – Williams is a slam poet and it’s best when spoken. Also to help with that, the book is written is varying fonts, text sizes, etc – kind of a really wonderful visual aid as you read.

Some of my favorite parts:

“she kissed as if she, alone, could forge the signature of the sun”

“learning to love, SHE had forgotten to cry. seldom hearing the distant thunder in her lover’s ambivalent sighs. HE was not honest. SHE was not sure.”

“behold, a story untold I have seen the moon in a sun dress”

Anyways, you should really pick this book up and give it a try. It takes maybe a half hour to an hour to read at most. And how can you not want to read a poem about a man who goes crazy as a result of a kiss?

Saul Williams also has some cd’s out, in which his poems are put to music / hip-hop beats. Here are links to some of my favorite performances – some with music, some not.

performing part of ,said the shotgun to the head – try to block out his awful outfit and fro-hawk

Black Stacey

his performance on Slam Nation


Sarah Says: 5 stars

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