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PAIN: The Board Game

Sampson Starkweather


ISBN 978-0-9913361-2-8


Street Date: 10/13/2015

The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said "life is pain." Poet Sampson Starkweather says PAIN: The Board Game. Evidently, Third Man Books’ fourth title has caused pain in a few lives already: four printing presses in Nashville, Tennessee, refused the book due to "objectionable content” (in 2015?!?).

 PAIN: The Board Game is 160 pages of poetry, 15 full color illustrations by Jon-Michael Frank, and the first book of poetry that is both page-turning-analog and online interactive. Find out why some describe Starkweather as, "Not only thrillingly accessible, not only deeply thought-provoking, but also, and without exaggeration, historically important."—The Huffington Post


“[Starkweather’s] poetry is so real, so stunning, so emotionally accurate and strange…I find with each poem I’m laughing out loud. But also putting my hand over my heart, in a futile effort to keep the damn thing still.” —Bianca Stone, author of Someone Else’s Wedding Vows


And, to accompany the book, finally, what everyone has waited for, a kick-ass video game based on a poetry book rather than FIFA, alien invasion, or Seal Team 6. Now all you gamers out there can experience what pixilated, dark haired poet Sampson Starkweather experiences: PAIN. No more can society argue that video game culture has usurped activities such as reading. Play the game. Taste the PAIN. Then, inflict more PAIN on your-self-abusing-selves, sitting in your dark rooms, cathode blue computer colored faces, still arguing Atari vs Intellivision, or the processing power of this-or-that latest console, and order PAIN: The Board Game by Sampson Starkweather, the fourth title from Third Man Books. 


* The first analog plus online interactive book of poetry
* Features 15 color illustrations by Jon-Michael Frank
* 160 pages of poetry as visual as readable
* Starkweather sold out TMR's live venue of 400 and sold out his books
* Starkweather’s previous title First Four Books was a best seller for Small Press Distribution
* Even comes with content deemed inappropriate by modern-age printing presses!


“[Starkweather] is creating a living poetry.” —C.D. Wright, author of One With Others, winner 2011 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award

I am of my times and you screengrab out of ancient nowhere, the title of one of the poems in Starkweather's second collection, PAIN: The Board Game, perfectly captures both his utter contemporariness and his empathetic treatment of our most primal conditions: "dis- / appointment / & misery / & helplessness / & suffering / & pain / & fear." As he deploys the #trending and vintage lexicons of technology and pop culture with the depth and ease of a true lyricist, Starkweather pushes his poems into the territory of universal affect and risky humanity, to the root of our desire to connect. This is the contemporary poem that, just after it has "Shazamed / your orgasm" resurrects "the rough magic / of bodies / illuminating / the lack / of any / limitation / when one." Starkweather's unyielding, funny, luminous poetry is a brand new classic.


when I die
will someone please
keep me alive
in Second Life
my password
to all things
is pipedream!
don’t forget
the exclamation
point and feel
free to bring
the sniper
in the mall
I leave
a hole
in everything



***This book is eligible for the book club bundle and the 3 for $30 bundle***

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