Punks chronicles Keene’s experiences with love, loss, and identity. The book features a collection of poems including new and formerly unpublished work that function as a personal archive. The author’s notes in the back of the book provide insight contextualizing selected poems with noteworthy events, inspiration, and cultural references ranging from Walt Whitman to Grindr. In “Underground” Keene writes “everyone is speaking, so we listen.” May we listen to what he later describes as “a song we sing as hard as we live.”
— Caroline S
John Keene’s Punks is utterly brilliant. The range, vision, depth and humanity he brings to the page are as galactic as Banneker’s astral wanderings, as crisp as the chordal cutting of a searching horn, as courageous and small as a node wide open. Keene’s masterfully inventive inquiry of self and history is queered, Blackened, and joyously thick with multitudes of voice and valence. Amen to this exploration.
— Tyehimba Jess