2014 National Book Award Finalist, Poetry


The Feel Trio by Fred Moten Fred Moten

The Feel Trio

Letter Machine Editions

ISBN: 978-09887137102014

Photo credit: Kari Orvik


Fred Moten’s The Feel Trio is an impossible celebration in a forest that is language and the beauty of it is Moten’s implicit knowledge that none of us (especially him) will ever get out. Yet we must wave this flag and that is exactly what this book is doing. The page is used passionately, lyrics break apart and surge with a palpable pleasure that bothers to lean in close to speak to us in the brainy patois of a dream country that strangely we feel we do know.


The Feel Trio is Cecil Taylor, Tony Oxley and William Parker. Or is it that The Feel Trio are Cecil Taylor, Tony Oxley and William Parker? See, that’s the amazing problem and chance, right there! In the wake and air and light of The Feel Trio, what it bears and what propels them, which is everything in particular, The Feel Trio tries to put some things together. Alabama runs through those things like nobody’s business. I kept trying to visit the uncounted space James Brown forms around the one. To celebrate the varieties of black devotion. But coalition can’t be too easy; it’s in our nature not to come naturally lyrically, beautifully violently. The organizing principles, in our extramusical tailor’s retrofit of fitting, sharp as a tack from the tone worlds of east by southeast of Sheffield, the Bronx’s compassionate project/s and fly, flaired, flared Corona: listen to everything, relax the shape, approach with love, be worthy of a lovely t!
—Fred Moten


Fred Moten is a professor of English at the University of California—Riverside and the author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition, Hughson’s Tavern, B. Jenkins, and co-author, with Stefano Harney, of The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study. His current projects include two critical texts, consent not to be a single being (forthcoming from Duke University Press) and Animechanical Flesh, which extend his study of black art and social life, and a new collection of poems, The Little Edges. In 2009, Moten was recognized as one of ten “New American Poets” by the Poetry Society of America. He is also co-founder and co-publisher (with Joseph Donahue) of a small literary press called Three Count Pour.