Stop and Frisk

American Poems

“Urgency and imagination, truth and focus: Jabari Asim brings those qualities together in a book of poetry that confronts the lethal face of racism: death-by-police. This book challenges the boundaries of the art by being, in a very good sense of the word, documentary.”

Through this sparsely adorned collection of dramatic monologues, Jabari Asim ruthlessly interrogates entrenched injustice and its insidious echoes. Part rap sheet, part concept album, Asim lays down tracks that add conviction to our collective broken record: What could be more American than pretending truths were self-evident when they seldom were? Drawing defiant inspiration from the news and the Blues, these poems arrest our attention and burn grooves into us. Like bare bulbs swinging in windowless rooms, Asim’s poems offer little solace. Their keening is inescapable, interrupting our piped-in playlists. Without the pretense of safety, Stop and Friskplays for keeps. These starkly revelatory poems expose the dark heart of our nation and call for a reckoning—the only way out before everything breaks / into hurt, noise, and ever after.