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Poetry Magazine takes on Odd Future

March 17, 2011 |  4:22 pm

Bethelem Shoals' new piece in Poetry Magazine, on the incandescently hyped rap crew Odd Future, isn't only an unexpected bit of analysis from an austere literary journal -- it might also be the best thing written about them yet. Shoals ignores the whole creation-myth aspect and instead focuses on the bigger and thornier questions Odd Future raises. Namely, where does their casual violence and misogyny come from, and how do you square it with the fact that they clearly seem like really nice kids in person? How deep does irony go before you have to strike a truth? How do they fit into the traditions of shock literature and grim music such as Dennis Cooper and Geto Boys, and what does it really mean to be "desensitized?" What's the link between Odd Future and Futurism?

That, and it's probably the first time you'll see the work of Earl Sweatshirt and Clive James on the same page.

-- August Brown

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