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Optic Subwoof is a collection of talks that poet and National Book Award finalist Douglas Kearney presented for the Bagley Wright Lecture Series in 2020 and 2021.


As kinetic on the page as they are in person, these lectures offer an urgent critique of the intersections between violence and entertainment, interrogating the ways in which poetry, humor, visual art, music, pop culture, and performance alternately uphold and subvert this violence. With genius precision and an avant-garde sensibility, Kearney examines the nuances around Black visibility and its aestheticization. In myriad ways, Optic Subwoof is a book that establishes Kearney as one of the most dynamic writers and thinkers of the twenty-first century.


Douglas Kearney has published seven poetry collections, including Sho, (Wave 2021), which was a finalist for the PEN and the National Book Award, 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 for poetry.  Kearney teaches Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities and lives in St. Paul. 


  • Publisher: Wave Books (November 15, 2022)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1950268675
  • ISBN-13: 9781950268672
  • Item Weight: 1.11 pounds
  • Dimensions: 8.25 x 0.5 x 6 inches
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