Hum by Jamaal May

Into the Wild

Hum Read Online Free - In May’s debut collection, poems buzz and purr like a well-oiled chassis. Grit, trial, and song thrum through tight syntax and deft prosody. From the resilient pulse of an abandoned machine to the sinuous lament of origami animals, here is the ever-changing hum that vibrates through us all, connecting one mind to the next.

“Linguistically acrobatic [and] beautifully crafted. . . [Jamaal May's] poems, exquisitely balanced by a sharp intelligence mixed with earnestness, makes his debut a marvel.” —Publishers Weekly

“The elegant and laconic intelligence in these poems, their skepticism and bent humor and deliberately anti-Romantic stance toward experience are completely refreshing. After so much contemporary writing that seems all flash, no mind and no heart, these poems show how close observation of the world and a gift for plain-spoken, but eloquent speech, can give to poetry both dignity and largeness of purpose, and do it in an idiom that is pitch perfect to emotional nuance and fine intellectual distinctions. Hard-headed and tough-minded, Hum is the epitome of what Frost meant by ‘a fresh look and a fresh listen.’” —Tom Sleigh

"Jamaal May’s debut collection, Hum, is concerned with what’s beneath the surfaces of things—the unseen that eats away at us or does the work of sustaining us. Reading these poems, I was reminded of Ellison’s ‘lower frequencies,’ a voice speaking for us all. May has a fine ear, acutely attuned to the sonic textures of everyday experience. And Hum—a meditation on the machinery of living, an extended ode to sound and silence—is a compelling debut.” —Natasha Trethewey

"In his percussive debut collection Hum, Jamaal May offers a salve for our phobias and restores the sublime to the urban landscape. Whether you need a friend to confide in, a healer to go to, or a tour guide to take you there, look no further. That low hum you hear are these poems, emanating both wisdom and swagger.” —A. Van Jordan
From "Mechanophobia: Fear of Machines":
There is no work left for the husks.
Automated welders like us,
your line replacements, can't expect
sympathy after our bright
arms of cable rust over. So come

collect us for scrap, grind us up
in the mouth of one of us.
Let your hand pry at the access
panel with the edge of a knife,
silencing the motor and thrum.

Jamaal May is a poet, editor, and filmmaker from Detroit, MI where he taught poetry in public schools and worked as a freelance audio engineer and touring performer. His poetry won the 2013 Indiana Review Poetry Prize and appears in journals such as Poetry, Ploughshares, The Believer, NER, and The Kenyon Review. Jamaal has earned an MFA from Warren Wilson College as well as fellowships from Cave Canem and The Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University. He founded the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Press.

Title : Hum
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 1938584023
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 80 pages


Lindsay rated it ★★★★★

August 30, 2017

I loved this. It was so raw and emotional and everything I wanted in a poetry book. I've never been the biggest poetry fan. A lot of times it takes someone sort of walking me through each reference, the extremely metaphorical writing, the significance of the form and structure of the poems, all o...

Andrea rated it ★★★★★

June 25, 2014

I admit to being drawn to this collection because of the gorgeous cover and its steampunk robot with a birdcage head, which immediately sparked my imagination. The physical book itself is also beautiful, with a lovely typeset. A smattering of dark pages, each for a "phobia" poem (such as Athazago...

Margaryta rated it ★★★★☆

April 09, 2014

This was one of the poetry books where each poem could be appreciated for the way in which it was written and thus enjoyed, even if it wasn't as resonant with you as a reader. It was a poetry book that read effortlessly and dragged my attention into it, the way poetry should be. It wasn't a burde...

Allie rated it ★★★★★

September 03, 2016

I picked this book of poetry up on a whim while at my local library. As some other reviewers have stated the cover artwork has a steampunk theme and immediately drew me in and had me curious about what exactly the inner book held. I was hooked after only reading the first few lines of Still Life...

Dallas rated it ★★★☆☆

February 10, 2018

Hum brims with tight, concisely narrative poems anchored in the expanse of extended metaphors. There is a quotient of the surreal within each stanza, but the ideas driving Jamaal May’s poems don’t dwell within this magical realism, sublimely pushing and pulling the reader through a hall of mirror...

Dannie rated it ★★★★★

October 24, 2014

This is one of the best books of poetry I've ever read. The amount of thought and detail May put into this is incredible. Not only are all of the poems singularly great, but they weave together in a way that makes the sum even greater than the parts.

Allison rated it ★★★★☆

September 27, 2016

I loved how these poems bear witness to a life unfamiliar to me, but in such a way that is accessible and I get it. "The God Engine" was probably my favorite.

Ray rated it ★★★★☆

December 04, 2016

Such an intricate and thoughtful collection of poetry. It's been a really long time since I've read something so powerfully understated. Recommended to me by Matthew Cuban.

Christina rated it ★★★★★

July 02, 2017

There are so many beautiful poems in this collection. The whole book is underlined with my favorite weird comparisons and phrases - he has such a unique voice. I enjoyed taking my time and experiencing each poem, really trying to find what he's trying to say. Jamaal May is officially one of my fa...

John rated it ★★★☆☆

March 05, 2018

very "traditional" feeling poetry from a Detroit author, with themes of race, city, noise, machines, metal, and phobias. couldn't finish it but I might revisit later when I've honed my taste for poetry.

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