Pulitzer Prize finalist
A poetic history of the twentieth century from one of our most beloved, popular, and highly lauded poets—a stirring, strikingly original, intensely imagined recreation of the most potent voices and searing moments that have shaped our collective experience.
XX is award-winning poet Campbell McGrath’s astonishing sequence of one hundred poems—one per year—written in a vast range of forms, and in the voices of figures as varied as Picasso and Mao, Frida Kahlo and Elvis Presley. Based on years of historical research and cultural investigation, XX turns poetry into an archival inquiry and a choral documentary. Hollywood and Hiroshima, Modernism and propaganda, Bob Dylan and Walter Benjamin—its range of interest encompasses the entire century of art and culture, invention and struggle.
Elegiac and celebratory, deeply tragic and wickedly funny, XX is a unique collection from this acknowledged master of historical poetry, and his most ambitious book yet.
Campbell McGrath is the author of nine previous books, eight of them available from Ecco Press. He has received numerous prestigious awards for his poetry, including a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has been published in the New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, the Paris Review, the New Yorker, Poetry, and Ploughshares, among other prominent publications, and his poetry is represented in dozens of anthologies. He teaches in the MFA program at Florida International University, and lives with his family in Miami Beach.
“A funny, learned, awestruck ode to the last century.” — O magazine
“Expansive. . . . The richness of the book . . . comes from McGrath’s deep understanding of history - especially the latter part of the century- and his ability to choose memories that will resonate with readers.” — Washington Post
“Campbell McGrath’s whizzing, ambitious project captures each of the 20th century’s years in the voice of some great cultural icons. . . . This is a book of ideas. But even more than this, it is a book for velocity itself.” — NPR
“XX…seems to launch its own defense of the humanities and their presence in our lives” — New Yorker