New book by Fred Moten: “The Little Edges

We are pleased to announce a new book by Fred Moten, The Little Edges.


Poems that play in the sonic texture of discourses

The Little Edges is a collection of occasional pieces in which Fred Moten extends his experimentation in what he calls “shaped prose”—a way of arranging prose in rhythmic blocks, or sometimes shards, in the interest of audio-visual patterning. Moten uses shaped prose to work the “little edges” of the lyric, blurring the lines between poetry and theoretical discourse. The poems—swelling with life, sensuality, and musicality­—are inspired by jazz, everyday speech, and by the urban spaces of modern life.

As occasional pieces, many of the poems in the book are the result of a request or commission to comment upon a work of art, or to memorialize a particular moment or person. For example, Moten pays homage Nancy Wilson and Jaki Byard, as well as to dancer/choreographer Ralph Lemon and filmmaker Arthur Jafa. The matter and energy of a singular event or person are transformed by their entrance into and interaction with social spaces. These spaces, are in turn, transformed. The poems blend joy and gravitas; they aim “to solemnize in joy…to sing praise…to assemble in disassembly.”

An online reader’s companion is available at

Click here to order this book.

Also available as an ebook—check with your favorite ebook retailer.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.



the praline of amusement and.
my cliometric pearl can’t call it.
curve unnumbered. you can’t

ride that long, you can’t turn
that far, that cold coming and
going in and out of snow. the
speed of our washing is blinding
and our devotion is laughing
without a name or song. this is
our music. we’re many hymns
in love with each other
warring out of circle almost,
almost frozen, color become
shape, you put your coat on me.