1980s Painter Jean-Michel Basquiat led a brief, admittedly glamorous and tragic life, finally joining "that stupid club" of cultural figures who self-destructed at an early age. To Repel Ghosts is Kevin Young's ambitious cycle of poems about, ...
about, inspired by, and in homage to Basquiat. In structure and theme it is a double album, a jazz symphony containing riffs about-and extended rhapsodies of-a pantheon of black genius. Here are ballplayers, boxers, jazz greats: a kaleidoscope of lives emerging from the prism of Basquiat's paintings, which themselves refer to many of these figures, tragic icons who provide a unique foil to Basquiat's own bout with fame.