Discussion Questions

Questions for Discussion or Further Writing

For a high school classroom

  1. Sarah Blake feels a strong connection to Kanye West. Is there a celebrity you feel strongly connected to? How did that connection come about? What are the pros and cons of connections like these?
  1. Blake was introduced to West by her husband, Noah, who appears throughout the book. Has someone close ever introduced you to something or someone that you went on to be passionate about?
  1. The book talks about racism and hatred. Have you ever expressed hatred online? Jokingly? Anonymously? How do you feel about that expression, either by you or by others?
  1. The book talks about the Taylor Swift incident. Have you ever felt compelled to speak out about something? Can you think of something that could compel you to speak out?
  1. Blake writes West’s 2002 car accident into a creation myth. Is there a moment in your life that moved you to define/redefine yourself?

For a book club

  1. The book is described as an unauthorized biography of Kanye West, but the book is about more than West. What themes did you pick up on as you read the book?
  1. The poem “Adventures” is about Hurricane Katrina and in the beginning touches on what Blake can and can’t remember about it. Do you have specific memories about Katrina? Do you have specific memories about other major events in America? How have these memories shaped you as a person? How have these events shaped America?
  1. Blake and West find inspiration in monsters. What do you think of when you think of monsters? What role do you think monsters play in this book? What role do you think monsters play in our society?
  1. West is Christian and Blake is part Jewish, and both religions appear throughout the poems. What role does belief play in the book? (See “So Kanye Transformed Himself, Producer to Superstar,” “Jesus Walks,” and “Gaze.”)
  1. The book has a rather elaborate Notes section. When did you discover the Notes section? Did it change your reading of the book?