Read A Book: New Literary Compilation ‘The BreakBeat Poets’ Blends Hip-Hop With Written Wordplay

The BreakBeat Poets Cover Art Square


Literary heads take note: a new poetry compilation dubbed The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop has been released just today by Haymarket Books. Filled with the writings of 78 poets and modern scribes fro all over the world–writers whose work is deeply enmeshed in the music and culture of hip-hop–the compilation appears to be an obvious must-read for anyone interested in the deep and every-growing motifs of wordplay, cadence, rhyme structure and symbolism that run through both mediums.

In anticipation of the book, a brand new trailer has been released, offering us a taste of what sort of candor and content to expect from The BreakBeat Poets. From our early impressions, the volume of “New American lettermakers” should be an essential read for Okayplayers of all stripes. Co-edited by Kevin Coval, it features work from Lemon Andersen, Fatimah Asghar, Joshua Bennett and many more. Cutting a decidedly Midwestern course, the book includes poems from numerous Chicago-area artists, and editor Coval has been a mainstay of the windy city for ample time now. In a bit of advance praise, Chance The Rapper referred to the text as “A cool & diversified version of a mix tape. The BreakBeat Poets is a thorough and complete summation of Golden Era writers who continue to build the scene of literary and performance poetry.” But don’t take Chance’s word for it, order the book today and watch the full trailer below. Spring break is over, friends. Time to get your read on once more.

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