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Poet Kwame Alexander On His First Young Adult Novel 'Solo'11:05Download

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"Solo," by Kwame Alexander. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)MoreCloseclosemore
"Solo," by Kwame Alexander. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Kwame Alexander has had great success with his poetry books for children, but his latest book is for teens. "Solo" tells the story of a high school senior trying to figure out love, life's purpose and his place in his family.

Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Alexander (@kwamealexander) about the book, his first young adult fiction novel, co-authored by Mary Rand Hess.

Here are two songs from the "Solo" audiobook, performed by Randy Preston:

Related audio

Related audio

Book Excerpt: 'Solo'

By Kwame Alexander, with Mary Rand Hess

Chapel

is the great song
in my life.
The sweet arpeggio
in my solo.

Her lines bring
color and verve
to my otherwise
crazy life.

Without her
I’d be a one-man
band,
with a played-out
sound
and no audience.

The magic
we compose
is endless,
immortal.

We could play
together
for centuries.
If I’m lucky.

And I love
the music
our bodies
make
when we’re dancing.

But there is one thing
about my girlfriend
I don’t understand.
She says
she doesn’t believe
in sex
before marriage,
but she never

wants to get married.
When I ask her, Where is this all going, then?
she likes to
get real close,

eyelash close,
and say things like
Let’s live in the moment, babe
or we don’t need labels,
and then
she kisses me
like we own the world
and nothing else matters.

It’s funny how
going nowhere
feels like it’s
going someplace

fast.

Hollywood Report

Rutherford Morrison has kept rock alive for twenty-five
years.
His band, The Great Whatever, is credited with
introducing a new flavor of

Hard Rock to America with the release of their triple-
platinum album,
The History of Headaches. Even after an acrimonious
band breakup,

Morrison continued to have an illustrious solo career,
selling thirty million albums worldwide.

His music has lasted the test of time . . . until now.
Eight years ago, he was arrested for reckless
endangerment of his child,

and he hasn’t released an album since.
Most recently he’s managed three DUIs, and a drug
overdose

that almost sent him to a rock-star reunion with
Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse.

Rutherford may not have much time left before
he falls flat on 12:00. Midnight can be so cruel.

Who doesn’t feel sorry for his kids,
left answering the hard questions, like

How does it feel
to be the daughter
to be the son
of a fallen rock star?

Who Am I?

I am
the wretched son
of a poor
rich man.

I do not hate
my life.

I am not like
Sebastian Carter,
who found
his father kissing
his girlfriend

and now hates
his life.

My life is, hmmm,
inconvenient.

But
if it weren’t for Chapel . . .

Excerpted from the book SOLO by Kwame Alexander, with Mary Rand Hess. Copyright © 2017 by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess. Republished with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

This segment aired on October 19, 2017.

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