An audacious novel about New York’s legendary hip-hop pioneers
Harlem, 1969. The air is charged with hope and revolution; the Black Panthers are in their prime. This is the backdrop against which The Last Poets wrote their passionate, self-critical poetry. Some twenty years later, young hip-hop bands drew on The Last Poets’ legacy, making them the ‘founding fathers’ of hip-hop.
Christine Otten’s audacious novel is based on the The Last Poets’ life stories, from their youth in the ghetto to their love lives, triumphs, and defeats.
“Next to the Last Poets’ magnificent, terrifying, rococo This Is Madness, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl feels as reserved as TS Eliot. The Last Poets’ fierce performance poetry inspired generations of musicians, even as they destroyed themselves. Now they’re back—and as relevant as ever” —Guardian
“Christine is a real…white girl. A SERIOUS DUTCH WHITE GIRL! But she’s our white girl!” —UMAR BIN HASSAN, one of the Last Poets
“Otten imagines the last Poets as modern Romantics whose personal histories, performance styles and Afro-diasporic musical roots provide access to a sublime black aesthetic” —New York Times
“Christine Otten’s book does for the Last Poets what their modesty has never allowed these revolutionary icons to do for themselves—it humanizes them. The author writes at length about all nine of the men who have performed as Last Poets over the decades, recounting the wildly disparate personal details and historical pressures that led each member of the crew to decide to dedicate his life to poetry, community, and justice” —BILL ADLER
“Sometimes you read a novel that suddenly changes your life—this is one of them” —HERMAN KOCH, author of The Dinner