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William Upski Wimsatt
174 pages (Fall 2006); 2.2MB download
Soft Skull Press; ISBN: 1-887128-42-5
Controversy has already got its wormy hands on this slim volume, and you should too. Call it what you will; it just can't be ignored. Upski's what I call an indispensible irritant. That is a good thing.
- Denizent, freshpoetry.com
... Wimsatt is a sharp and savvy observer of urban culture ... Rather than writing a book about all the things that are wrong with American culture, he offers panaceas that are both creative and entirely feasible -- features that make No More Prisons a very worthy read.
- Todd Matthews, Rain Taxi
Following the successful release of his first self-published book (Bomb the Suburbs), Wimsatt finds more issues to rant about in his latest collection of essays, some of which have appeared in such publications as the Utne Reader and the New Haven Advocate. In some of his most lucid writing, the self-proclaimed "cool rich kid" takes on the American penal system and its emphasis on punishment at the expense of hope and rehabilitation. However, much of that section's impact is lost when Wimsatt suddenly turns guru: "For every road and zoo and gated community and fence and lock and alarm system and prison we build, we are installing another prison cell in our hearts." In "Homeschooling and Self-Education," he tries for the anarchistic, mocking tone that yippies Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman made famous in the late 1960s, charging that American education fosters a host of maladies, including passivity, dullness, eating disorders and self-hatred. His scorn for white class privilege, greed and the "sterility" of suburbia surfaces in several of his more challenging short pieces, notably in an informative interview with David Rusk, the former mayor of Albuquerque, N. Mex. The interviews with various activists and politicos that dot the book are often more thought-provoking than the pat sarcasm in Wimsatt's tirades against the enemies of hip-hop and socially responsible philanthropy. Irreverent, occasionally hilarious, but distracting in its obsession with the artistic shortcomings of his previous book, Wimsatt's new work offers a strange, affecting glimpse into the head of a Gen-X cultural maverick.
- Publishers Weekly