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How does history become mythology? How do people become legends? What are the borders of poetry and performance and what do we see when we swagger along those jagged edges? The Last Poets were real people; poets & performers at the very roots of hip hop who lived, suffered, and fought with America’s racism. Like the best biopics, Otten’s novel tells the stories of these specific lives in a way that speaks volumes about the world that surrounds them and us.
Josh— From The Last Poets
Even readers unfamiliar with the Last Poets' historic significance as building blocks of the hip-hop and rap movement, will instantly find this novel a compelling read.
The Last Poets were self-proclaimed prophets of "hope and change." The band was formed in 1968 against an incendiary backdrop of the black power movement and murders of Martin Luther King, Kennedy and Malcolm X. Today their socio-political lyrics have a renewed sense of urgency, rallying loud and clear against the fear-based politics of the Trump era.
Christine Otten spent three months travelling across the United States interviewing members of the Last Poets, their families, friends, and musicians. She describes their impoverished childhoods, their love lives, successes and failures in this beautifully written, sensuously swinging, biopic-style novel.