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A new book by Sarah Blake ’06 is an all-out ode to Kanye West

Blake at home with her first book, Mr. West, outside Philadelphia. Photo courtesy Emma Lee/WHYY
Blake at home outside Philadelphia with her first book, Mr. West. Photo courtesy Emma Lee/WHYY
“I want to do what hip hop is doing,” says poet Sarah Blake, in a recent interview with WHYY.

“I want to be active, political, I want to reference the Today show. But my only connection to hip-hop was Kanye.”

Blake has never met West, but she started writing poems about him a few years ago while she was grieving the loss of her grandfather, and he, his mother. Her work led to a National Endowment of the Arts Poetry Fellowship in 2013, and ultimately, to Mr. West, her first book, published today by Wesleyan University Press.

The buzz around Mr. West, which Blake calls an unauthorized lyric biography, started in February, and continues unabated. Despite many attempts to contact the rapper, Blake is sanguine about whether he’ll acknowledge the book. “I would love to hear from him, [but] I do feel the book exists very much outside of him. If he never wants to see it, that’s ok with me, too.”

Mr. West

The Chicago Tribune calls it “fascinating.”

Flavorwire calls it a “unique and risky book.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer interviews Blake in a crêperie.

Blake tells WHYY that after getting immersed in hip-hop she doesn’t think she can go back to any other kind of music. put it on its “What We’re Reading” list.

TCNJ Magazine announced it in its Winter 2015 issue.

Book launch parties

NYC: BookCourt
Friday, March 13th, 7 p.m.

Philadelphia: L’Etage
Friday, March 27th, 7 p.m.