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Maybe the Saddest Thing: Poems (Paperback)
“These are wide-ranging Whitmanesque poems—self-aware meditations that rap and jazz their way forward, talk back, backtrack, and scratch so hard they blow out the speakers with their complicated love for a huge cast of icons, from Pam Grier to Flavor Flav, from RuPaul to Dave Chapelle.” —Erika Meitner
“Keats, too, would have admired the holy truth of Marcus Wicker, whose lyric wizardry astounds the ear.” —D.A. Powell
Winner of the 2011 National Poetry Series Prize as selected by D.A. Powell, Marcus Wicker's Maybe the Saddest Thing is a sterling collection of contemporary American poems by an exciting new and emerging voice.
About the Author
Marcus Wicker was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A 2011 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship recipient, he has also held fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Cave Canem, and Indiana University, where he received his MFA. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Beloit Poetry Journal, jubilat, Ninth Letter, and Crab Orchard Review, among other journals. Marcus is assistant professor of English at University of Southern Indiana.
“Dense with echo and vibrant with syncopation, Wicker’s debut deploys a festive panoply of characters from African-American culture and music to make serious claims about memory, sadness, race, self-consciousness, and desire.” — Publishers Weekly
“Flashing and dipping. Sampling and riffing. Action painting meets the pop of hip-hop. Here is a dashing figure of speech and preach, a lovepoet to the stars. In the words of L.L. Cool J.: ‘Bring in the funk, baby.’ ‘I am certain of nothing but of the holiness of the Heart’s affections, and the truth of the Imagination,’ wrote Keats. Keats, too, would have admired the holy truth of Marcus Wicker, whose lyric wizardry astounds the ear in conclamant melodies and astonishes the eye ‘like a shard of glass catches a beam’.” — D.A. Powell
“Reading Maybe the Saddest Thing I was reminded of “Thieves in the Night,” the classic Black Star track which turns a passage from Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye into a biting, tender refrain. Marcus Wicker has, as Mos Def and Talib Kweli did, made an art that bridges cultures. These gregarious poems shine with metaphors born of inquiry and affection, heartbreak and hilarity. The dialogues, love letters, and reflections throughout this wonderful debut show us what it is to be in vigilant conversation with the world and with the self.” — Terrance Hayes
“Wicker preaches an urgent gospel of pop-culture, desire, adolescence, race, and family, that says “Hell yes” to the world with deft turns of phrase, and a rhythmic inventiveness that hurtles down the page. This fearless debut will make your head spin, your heart strut.” — Erika Meitner