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Douglas Kearney explores entertainment, violence and protest through poetry

Sho was created from a manuscript Douglas Kearney originally started back in 2016 to be called “actors not real people.”

“‘Sho’ really explores the question that I'm oftentimes thinking about, which is the intersection, or the collision between entertainment and violence. Particularly as it impacts Black folks,” explained Kearney.

Kearney says that many people think of poetry as something in their minds or an assignment to be graded by a teacher. He says we are often intimidated by what we think poetry needs to be. Kearney states that poetry is not strictly about the transmission of information; it is the experience of the language itself - not to be confused with decoding.

“If you want to experience poetry at a very visceral level; read it aloud,” instructed Kearney. “What does it feel like to say those words?”

Kearney says it’s similar to when someone sings or raps along to a song, even though it's a professional recording. We do it to embody the sound, which in turn enhances our connection to the meaning.

One of his poems, ‘Property Values,’ explores the range of actions and emotions that take place after a police killing and the protests that follow.

“The first day maybe they're like ‘yes, this is enough was enough this is about rights or whatever’. Then within a couple of days, people are like ‘but did they have to burn the Target? Did they have to burn the CVS?’ So this idea of wanting to be a CVS because then people would care,” said Kearney.

“Sho” by Douglas Kearney is published by Wave Books and is available via all major booksellers.

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