Warhol's Mother's Pantry: Art, America, and the Mom in Pop

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“What are these fragments we’ve Jersey Shored against our ruin?” asks M. I. Devine, remixing T.S. Eliot, in this dizzying collection of essays that pays homage to the cultural forms that hold us steady. These fragments are stored in Warhol’s Mother’s Pantry, which takes us deep beneath the surfaces of pop to explore our shared quest for meaning today. Julia Warhola, an immigrant who arrived as the US was closing its borders a century ago, is the muse of reuse in these essays that cross boundaries—between now and then, high and low. She is the mom in pop who cut tin cans into flowers and taught Andy (and us) how to reshape and redeem our world. In essays as lyrical, witty, and experimental as the works they cover, Devine offers a new account of pop humanism. How we cut new things from the traditions we’re given, why we don’t stop believin’ (and carry on, wayward sons) when so much is stacked against us. Here are Leonard Cohen’s last songs and Molly Bloom’s last words; Vampire Weekend’s Rostam and Philip Larkin too; Stevie Smith, John Donne, and Kendrick Lamar; sonnets and selfies; early cinema and post–9/11 film, pop hooks, and pop art. In Devine’s hands, these literary and cultural artifacts are provocatively reassembled into an urgent and refreshing history that refuses to let its readers forget where pop came from and where it can go.

“In critico-lyrical prose that pops off the page and skips over boundaries with the agility native to its most daring subjects—from Stevie Smith to Leonard Cohen, from Andy Warhol to Kendrick Lamar—Devine issues a dare to his readers: Let us go. Take him up. You won’t regret it.” —Boris Dralyuk, Executive Editor, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Part prose poem, part mix tape, part mash-up, and part commonplace book, Warhol’s Mother’s Pantry channel surfs the cultural waves of the long twentieth century as they break on the shores of pop.” —Mike Chasar, author of Poetry Unbound: Poems and New Media from the Magic Lantern to Instagram

“Witty, subversive, poetic. This book is a joy to read. M. I. Devine is a writer for our times.” —Keith Zarriello, singer–songwriter, The Shivers

- paperback

- 288 pages

- 12 illustrations