The Listening

Poems by Kyle Dargan
Foreword by Quincy Troupe


"What is this phat new thing in your hands? It's both antithetical and wide, wide open. It's right as mismatched sneakers: one foot stepping backward, the other forward. Kyle Dargan has built a shelter with the bricks of the best worlds. He's made a halfway house you won't be leaving soon. Settle in!"
—Terrance Hayes, author of Hip Logic

"The intrepid, hybrid 'chronograffiti' of Kyle Dargan's The Listening bears the heft of its personal and cultural histories with linguistic inventiveness, humor, and lyric incandescence. Political in the best, most urgent sense, these poems unsettle and illuminate the city within man, inheriting and extending a conversation originating in mythic, primeval forests and articulated across generations into the apocalyptically postmodern, wetland urban sprawl of inner-city Newark and environs. In poems that are as artistically powerful as they are hiphopculturally arresting and savvy, Dargan makes in this 'reluctant collage' a crucial, humble, fierce music that I, for one, attend to with hope and joy."
—Lisa Russ Spaar, author of Blue Venus: Poems

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Kyle Dargan's debut collection of poetry, The Listening, searches through the cluttered surface of contemporary life to tune into the elemental sounds within the marrow of living/life. Throughout the collection, Dargan interweaves elements of his heritage with the present day--jazz influences blend with hip-hop; neoslave narratives run parallel with the intimate tale of civil rights leaders; post-9/11 America is juxtaposed with family portraits of the sixties and seventies--to reveal the continuous, though ever changing, music of the world around us. Whether capturing the famous Ali-Frazier fight in Manila or a trip to the local barbershop, Muddy Waters or boyhood blacktop games, Dargan gives voice to the most poignant and fleeting aspects of our everyday existence. With singular incisiveness and vigor, these poems act simultaneously as psalms and elegies, praising life at the same time they lament its inevitable passing.
Cave Canem Poetry Prize

Page count: 104 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $19.95

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Kyle Dargan’s first book, The Listening, was awarded the Cave Canem Poetry Prize in 2003. He received his MFA as a Yusef Komunyakaa Fellow at Indiana University and is currently a Distinguished Adjunct in Residence on the creative writing faculty at American University. He is also managing editor of the journal Callaloo.