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"After so much contemporary writing that seems all flash, no mind and no heart, these poems show how close observation of the world and a gift for plain-spoken, but eloquent speech, can give to poetry both dignity and largeness of purpose."?Tom Sleigh
In Jamaal May's debut collection, the human body is machine, manufactured in the motor city, alive with the urban sounds and beats. Poems buzz and purr like well-oiled chassis. Grit and trial and song thrum through each line. Tight syntax, finely tuned internal rhyme, and punchy consonants percuss each poem's beat like an unfailing 808 drum.
From "Mechanophobia: Fear of Machines":
There is no work left for the husks.
Automated welders like us,
your line replacements, can't expect
sympathy after our bright
arms of cable rust over. So come
collect us for scrap, grind us up
in the mouth of one of us.
Let your hand pry at the access
panel with the edge of a knife,
silencing the motor and thrum.
Jamaal May was raised by two auto workers in Detroit, Michigan, where he eventually taught poetry in public schools. After making a living as a self-taught poet and musician, Jamaal went on to publish two chapbooks, earn an MFA from Warren Wilson, and be featured in Callaloo, Indiana Review, Blackbird, and Michigan Quarterly Review, among other journals, films, and broadcasts. He's the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, and Bucknell University, where he was named the 2011?2013 Stadler Fellow.