Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Big Smoke: Mini-Review

Synopsis (from the back of the book:

The legendary Jack Johnson (1878–1946) was a true American creation. The child of emancipated slaves, he overcame the violent segregationism of Jim Crow, challenging white boxers—and white America—to become the first African-American heavyweight world champion. The Big Smoke, Adrian Matejka’s third work of poetry, follows the fighter’s journey from poverty to the most coveted title in sports through the multi-layered voices of Johnson and the white women he brazenly loved. Matejka’s book is part historic reclamation and part interrogation of Johnson’s complicated legacy, one that often misremembers the magnetic man behind the myth

Like another boxing champion once said about his own boxing technique, Adrian Matejka's poetry "floats likes a butterfly and stings like a bee." The poems are smooth as silk, but pack a punch that knocks the reader out while they're busy watching the fancy verbal footwork. Using the art of monologue and dialogue Matejka shows us the many sides of the complex man who was the first African American heavyweight world champion. This is a knock-out book that proves why it was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in Poetry. ★★★★

1 comment:

fredamans said...

I love poetry, and am a boxing fan too. Sounds like a great mix.