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This book won’t make you forget about the devastating hurricanes

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“Portrait of the Artist as a Poet as Artists of Wealth and Power Are Today”, by Lynn Fredericks. University of California Press, 101 pages, $35

For such a brutal season of hurricanes and mass killing in the Caribbean, perhaps it’s poetic irony that artists are flourishing, one of the few actors whose narrative offerings are not limited to disaster movies or high art. Instead, Lynn Fredericks, a poet with a big pulse, is delving into the worlds of celebrity and social media.

Her introduction to the world of “Personal Collection of Galleries” begins with a novel mode: it’s a conversation between a famous novelist and her literary agent, who seek out publishing “stories” on their Facebook page. She has ambition to expand her site and, at the end of the chapter, she tells us, “you’ll see all of my poetry.”

For the next two chapters she writes of both art-world fame and Twitter, but much of her book is devoted to making sense of the art world — which increasingly becomes an easy echo chamber for social media users with an interest in social research and celebrity. But Fredericks makes the case that art can resist cyber-popularity and deliver something powerful.

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