2021 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST FOR POETRY
Eschewing series and performative typography, Douglas Kearney's Sho aims to hit crooked licks with straight-seeming sticks. Navigating the complex penetrability of language, these poems are sonic in their espousal of Black vernacular traditions, while examining histories, pop culture, myth, and folklore. Both dazzling and devastating, Sho is a genius work of literary precision, wordplay, farce, and critical irony. In his "stove-like imagination," Kearney has concocted poems that destabilize the spectacle, leaving looky-loos with an important uncertainty about the intersection between violence and entertainment.
Douglas Kearney has published six collections, including Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016), winner of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award, the CLMP Firecracker Award for Poetry, and the California Book Award silver medal (Poetry). M. NourbeSe Philip calls Kearney's collection of libretti, Someone Took They Tongues. (Subito, 2016), "a seismic, polyphonic mash-up." Kearney's Mess and Mess And (Noemi Press, 2015), was a Small Press Distribution Handpicked Selection that Publisher's Weekly called "an extraordinary book." He has received a Whiting Writer's Award, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Cy Twombly Award for Poetry, residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, The Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. Kearney teaches Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and lives in St. Paul with his family.