From the publisher:
A landmark collection of poetry by acclaimed fiction writer, translator, and MacArthur Fellow John Keene, Punks: New & Selected Poems is a generous treasury in seven sections that spans decades and includes previously unpublished and brand new work. With depth and breadth, Punks weaves together historic narratives of loss, lust, and love. The many voices that emerge in these poems—from historic Black personalities, both familial and famous, to the poet’s friends and lovers in gay bars and bedrooms—form a cast of characters capable of addressing desire, oppression, AIDS, and grief through sorrowful songs that “we sing as hard as we live.” At home in countless poetic forms, Punks reconfirms John Keene as one of the most important voices in contemporary poetry.
John Keene’s poems in Punks: New & Selected Poems invoke the notion of flow—which speaks beautifully to the idea of fluidity and movement in form—a flow that is constantly being interrupted by philosophical musings and deep longings, thick with queer desire. In the end, Keene returns to his lucid beatitudes: “Love,” he commands, “the shipwreck of your body, your mind’s / salted garden.” Punks is a monumental enterprise in scrupulous and hopeful transformations.