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M Poetica: Michael Jackson's Art of Connection and Defiance

M Poetica: Michael Jackson's Art of Connection and Defiance [Kindle Edition]

Willa Stillwater
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Note:  This is the first edition of M Poetica. A second edition is now available that includes information and images that weren't available when this edition was published. It also includes full bibliographic information, including weblinks to online sources, and an index of additional analysis of Michael Jackson's work at Dancing with the Elephant, a blog devoted to exploring his art, his ideas about art, and his deep cultural impact.

M Poetica
shows that, through his work, Michael Jackson himself answered some of the most troubling questions surrounding him. Why did his skin become so pale? He explains why in his work. What was behind the plastic surgery scandal? He explains that as well. He wasn't just creating compelling songs, videos, and dance moves. He was creating a new poetics, meaning a new theory about the scope, function, and power of art.

M Poetica asserts that Michael Jackson was a major artist, surpassing Warhol in the reach of his artistic understanding, the importance of his ideas, and the deep cultural shifts he helped bring about - particularly the way we think about and experience racial differences. But he was an artist unlike any we've ever seen before, and we need new tools and a new approach to understand him and fully appreciate his work. M Poetica provides those tools and, through close analysis of his lyrics and visual art, reveals his intelligence, his humor, his passion, and his revolutionary ideas about the transformative power of art. It also provides fresh interpretations of some of his most interesting videos, including Thriller, Scream, Ghosts, The Way You Make Me Feel, Billie Jean, Beat It, Bad, Jam, Blood on the Dance Floor, Smooth Criminal, Earth Song, and Stranger in Moscow.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1725 KB
  • Print Length: 279 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004WDRVP8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #468,534 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Willa Stillwater has a Ph.D. in English. Her doctoral research focused on the ways in which cultural narratives (such as racism) are made real for us by being "written" on our bodies, and she sees this concept as an important element of Michael Jackson's work - part of what he called social conditioning. She has been a Michael Jackson fan since she was nine years old.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Art of Connection and defiance 18 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book that looks at MJ's work in depth.Ms Stillwater has obviously researched this book thoroughly.It gives a whole new insight into MJ's genius.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars '''thought provoking and challenging 14 Mar 2012
By Linmac
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Michael Jackson often said that he was misunderstood, that the media often protrayed him as strange or weird. This book is a response to those claims and sets out to show us his work from the prespective of the artist, not just a popular singer and dancer.
After reading this book I felt I could understand that as an artist, Jackson was attempting to change our views of life, challenge our prejudices and to connect with his audience. His art was also a defiant act against the media and the allegations made against him.
If you want to know more about his art, not just the man, then this is the book you should read. I found myself listening to his music and watching the videos from a different perspective.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Dr. Stillwater! 2 July 2011
By J. Carlson - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Michael Jackson has been called the `Greatest Entertainer' the world has ever known. As such, he has been examined from every angle known to man, very few of which had anything to do with who he really was ... until now. Enough has been written about him to fill the Library of Congress ten times over. Sifting through the outright lies, insane innuendo, unverified rumor, unapologetic laziness of our media representatives and unauthorized biographies is, in itself, a full-time job.

Any serious study of Michael Jackson has to begin and end with his artistry, because he was ... and remains ... the consummate expression of his own artistic vision. It has to place him within the racial, cultural, political, national and religious contexts of his times; and it has to show those same contexts as he changed them. Because change them he did. It also has to examine our society's reactions to Michael Jackson and how they changed over time as he progressively gained autonomy over a forty-year career in the sometimes jaundiced public eye. This, Dr. Stillwater has done masterfully.

Dr. Stillwater has picked through all the garbage and gotten to the heart and soul of Mr. Jackson with the same kind of compassion for which he, himself, was famous. She has revealed the entertainment value of his music, discovered the added `punch' of dramatic narrative underlying his short films and hinted at the long-lasting influences other, less intelligent authors completely ignored in favor of repeating the tabloid-esque sensationalism that is ultimately responsible for his demise.

Within the pages of M Poetica: Michael Jackson's Art of Connection and Defiance one meets the ultimate prankster only to find that the joke was always on us, Michael Jackson's audience. My thanks to Dr. Stillwater for an intelligent, well-thought-out, articulate analysis of one of the most under-rated human beings society has ever ignored. I hope that she will continue her analysis with others of his short films and songs in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thoughts 4 July 2011
By lmat - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Dr. Stillwater: Haven't read your book yet as I just now learned of it. Am
very pleased to hear that you have written in depth about Mr. Jackson and look
forward to your analysis of his art. I did read an article that you wrote and
appreciate your insightful interpretation of his cultural significance. Mr.
Jackson had no choice as far as his vitiligo was concerned and Ms. Faye has
stated that he tried to hide the affliction from her for a time. However, that was an exercise in futility and, as we know, the treatment he chose was to even
his skin tone...
I truely believe that we as a culture have barely scraped the surface of his
artistic genius and I hope publishers will one day realize that there is a real
hunger for books such as yours. Thank you.

Addendum: 5 days later and I have finished this book. It is difficult to put into words how Dr. Stillwater's analysis and discussion of Mr. Jackson's art has affected me. She brings light to a whole different plane of understanding him and the genius in his life work. I highly recommend 'M Poetica' to anyone with an interest and desire to learn more about perhaps the most important artist of the last century. Just elegant.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars APPRECIATING THE ARTIST 6 July 2011
By TooLittleTooLate - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I thought maybe I had read all there was to read about Michael Jackson (good and bad), but this book looks like a refreshing take on an artist whose prowess as a musician and poet has been too long overshadowed by tabloid ridicule, gossip and a total misconception of his true nature. Dr. Stillwater appears to have looked into the creative heart of Mr Jackson to find out what he was really all about, and I can't wait to read it!

What a shame the author was unable to find a publisher with the foresight to put this on the shelves in our bookstores for everyone to discover what Michael Jackson's real magic was. Hopefully that will change as the reviews come in.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, insightful, innovative! 26 Aug 2011
By B.Erika - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am currently on chapter 4 of this book, and I have to say this is one of the most amazing, insightful, innovative, and thought provoking books on Michael Jackson and his work I have ever read.
Before going on vacation a couple of weeks ago, I was looking for Michael Jackson books I might have missed and found Dr. Stillwater's book. I was skeptical, but thought, hey, for the price, what can go wrong.
Like another reviewer before me mentioned, I was at first questioning if the author was not maybe reading too much into the songs and shortfilms. I have always wondered, sitting through many literature classes in college, what they original creators would think of all the interpretations going on.
Having studied Michael Jackson both from an artistic as well as a psychological perspective for a while now, I have long ago realized that he used the "pop culture veneer" as a kind of glossy surface to much deeper ideas and concepts. Sure, you can take that surface and run with it, but you can also be rewarded further to let Michael take you on a trip deeper below the glitter, which, as Dr Stillwater points out can be "a scary" excursion into aspects of human nature, our society, and our culture that are not always pleasant to look at.
After taking us on a short trip down the rabbit hole of some of MJ's most popular songs, the author digs deeper and addresses the history of the 93 Chandler allegations. She uses original documents and quotes to show us what was always right there before our eyes. Then, with a deep understanding into Michael's psyche, she paints a painful picture of the impact of these charges on his worldview, his vision, and his psychological make-up. She offers one of the most likely reasons for the Chandler settlement I have ever read. As a clinician working with survivors of trauma, her hypothesis of impact of the strip search hit me in my gut. NOW it suddenly all came together for me!

Dr Stillwater, then addresses how Michael used his face as a canvas and she addresses, using amazing photographic evidence, the "surgery addiction myth." Next, she highlights how Michael challenged established social categories as well as psychological schemas such as race, sexuality, gender... She uses the concepts of "physical emotional impact" and how he uses his words and images to overcome barriers long established in our subconscious.

If you are a Michael Jackson fan, or not (and let me say,if you are not, I HIGHLY recommend this book, to challenge your own beliefs)- and if you have any interest in art, music, and psychology, I HIGHLY recommend this read. I cannot wait to read on and continue the amazing journey Willa Stillwater is taking us on!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank You 23 July 2011
By Cristina - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Thank you for this thoughtful and insightful book. I can't recommend it enough. This isn't just a book for Michael Jackson fans, it is a book for people who appreciate great art and who themselves love to create art that inspires others to change the world for the better. Just as Michael inspires me, so does this book. I would love to own a hard copy edition of this book. I'm disappointed it is only offered electronically.
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Popular Highlights

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What does that mean exactly, and why is it so important to us?  Every time we looked at him, we experienced the weird dissonance of our eyes disagreeing with our brains, forcing us to question beliefs we thought we knew to be true. &quote;
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Jackson forced us to look at him—the little boy we’d loved since childhood who grew up into something unexpected—and challenged our assumptions about identity and race, gender and sexuality. &quote;
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Jackson’s body was merely the blank screen on which he made our deepest fears and desires known to us.  What we need is the projectionist, the artist who made it all happen, but he went away and took his magic lantern with him.  And now we’re left ripping the screen apart, trying to find where the magic came from, and why we cared so much. &quote;
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