New Poetry Genius Page on Rap Genius!


Introducing Poetry Genius on Rap Genius!

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The days of the blog you’re reading are numbered. Starting this week, we’re phasing it out in favor of the brand new POETRY GENIUS PAGE on Rap Genius.

The PG page has all the perks of the main RG homepage, including blog postlets, Editors’ Picks, and a list of our most popular texts. Very soon it’ll have a revamped design and other goodies as well.

Not only that, but RG now has landing pages for its other sibling sites, too: check out the new Rock Genius and News Genius.

In the coming weeks we’ll be porting over some of the most popular posts from this blog, then redirecting the URL. (You can also bookmark, but they’ll soon be one and the same.) In the meantime, take a nostalgic spin around our archives—and enjoy our new digs!

NEW: Podcast with Michael P. Jeffries!

PG followers may remember cultural critic and Wellesley prof Michael P. Jeffries from his star turn as a featured author earlier this year. His annotations on his new book, Paint the White House Black: Barack Obama and the Meaning of Race in America, elaborated on an already unsparing study of modern racial dialogue. Now Jeffries is back on Rap Genius, joining our Editor-in-Chief Shawn Setaro for the latest installment of our Outside the Lines podcast. An avid fan and scholar of hip-hop, Jeffries talks ‘Pac, politics, and much more. Listen and enjoy!

Video Breakdown, Pt. 2! The Second “Great Gatsby” Trailer

The Great Gatsby trailer we annotated the other day, video breakdown-style, was only the first of two. Don’t think we were going to leave you hanging on the second. Let us help you get oriented amidst the roar of the Twenties, the music of Fitzgerald’s prose, and the visual phantasmagoria of Baz Luhrmann.

Watch the complete second trailer, with our notes, here.

Video Breakdown! “The Great Gatsby” Trailer

We’ve got a bit of a treat for you today, old sport.

Our first-ever video breakdown—the trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s new Great Gatsby adaptation, annotated on Rap Genius.

The film stars Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, and Leonardo DiCaprio as the iconic Gatsby. From the looks of the trailer, it takes a few more liberties with Fitzgerald’s story than the old Robert Redford/Mia Farrow version, but with visuals and a soundtrack like this, who’s complaining?

Warning: the video breakdown contains a spoiler or two, but nothing you wouldn’t know from reading the book itself. Which you absolutely should. You know that’s on RG too, right?

Poetry BRAIN Is Now Poetry GENIUS

Pardon our changing appearance as we we make an evolutionary leap: from “Poetry Brain” to the infinitely sexier “Poetry Genius.” More soon…

Samuel Johnson Explains Li’l Wayne


Now that Li’l Wayne is no longer at death’s door, we here at Rap Genius/Poetry Brain are taking a renewed interest in explaining his oeuvre. And who better to break down the Complete Works of Wayne than the greatest literary critic in Western history, Samuel Johnson?

Dr. Johnson, who recently created a Verified account on Rap Genius, took a break today from analyzing Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Hamlet to focus on “Blunt Blowin’.” You can find his pungent analysis here.

Rap Genius: The LGBT Rights Album


If you’re not living under an unusually heavy rock in Siberia, you’ve noticed the above image zipping around Facebook as the profile picture for some of your friends. It’s a variant on the logo of the Human Rights Campaign—an organization determined “to ensure LGBT people of their basic human rights”—and a badge of support for marriage equality.
Why’s it going viral? Arguments over California’s Proposition 8, which would deny same-sex individuals the right to marry, come before the Supreme Court today, and tomorrow the Court will hear opposing views over the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). To help shine some light on the wider context of the case, we’ve posted a special “album” of milestone texts related to Prop 8 and the ongoing global struggle for LGBT rights.
The album features:
  • Harvey Milk’s most famous speech (“Give Them Hope”)
  • The Rev. Dr. Phil Snider (2012 Viral Gay Rights Speech)
  • Hilary Clinton (HRC Americans for Marriage Equality)
  • Justice Antonin Scalia (Lawrence v. Texas)
  • Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli (Brief for US)
  • Chris Kluwe (In support of overturning Prop 8)

Of course, we’ve also got Prop 8 itself, around which we’d like to expand the discussion as we expand the album. Feel free to add texts and throw down some knowledge! If Verified rapper A$AP Rocky‘s not keeping quiet, why should you:  

“It’s 2013, and it’s a shame that, to this day, that topic still gets people all excited. It’s crazy…I treat everybody equal.”

What’s Your Favorite Poem to Read Naked?

Today we posed that simple and, we think, entirely reasonable question to our Twitter followers. Consider it a brief sociological survey. Since there’s no right way to be naked, or to read a poem, the responses covered a broad spectrum.

Pretty logical:


Lesser-known, but classy:






Really? Robert Frost? Well, whatever plucks your apples:


Ha! Beside the NAKED white chickens:


Points for duration of nakedness and commitment to role-playing:


And we might have a winner:


In case you’re wondering, Poetry Brain’s favorite poem to read naked is “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” Always has been, always will be. Don’t ask us why; we just find it strangely stirring.

Somebody Just Found Poetry Brain…

…through the search term “crazy beautiful poems.”



Sylvia Plath: Love Your Rejection Slips

I love my rejection slips.  They show me I try.

While writers and their kin gather in Boston for the 2013 Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference, we started thinking about all the potential rejection going around.  As Plath notes above, it’s really all in how you respond to it.  In this instance, she takes the rejection slips as a measure of her efforts, not an indication of her failures.

In 1912, Gertrude Stein also got smacked down, and hard.  Arthur C. Fifield may not have had the time to read her manuscript, but he sure had time to shamelessly mock her writing style.

At the end of the day, which name has left a definitive mark on literary history, Gertrude Stein or Arthur C. Fifield?  So, embrace your shortcomings.  Learn from them.  Persist against all odds.  Try to love yourself, but if you don’t know how, let Biggie show you.

Much love & RIP to The Notorious B.I.G.


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