In a time when we have so little faith in the healing power of rock 'n' roll, and possibly less in humanity, along comes this inspiring humbling blazing page turner. It's honest. I initially thought, "Oh Greil Marcus from a feminist angle, like Joan Didion.” Then all of a sudden I was on the back of some Jodorowsky-fueled motorcycle checking out Volpert's house, wife, classroom, childhood, and there's a shit ton more. These essays are so life, joy, human affirming I was startled at my reaction. Oh, did I mention this is a book about Bruce? This is a great fucking book.
-Ed Hamell, AKA Hamell on Trial
Touching on subjects such as the through-line of “coolness” and the righteousness of Patti Smith, Boss Broad reflects on a world shaped by musicians, writers, comedians, philosophers, politicians, and other influencers and icons. Megan Volpert usefully traverses progressive politics, pop culture, and spirituality in a uniquely crafted memoir incorporating brilliantly rewritten Springsteen songs. Boss Broad is full of bold inquiries, sentiments, and proclamations to which you’ll have strong reactions or identifications: “Rock and roll shows are the only place that I feel church with any consistency.” Volpert is a boss broad preaching something fine.
-Mary Ann Naylor, founder of Church of Girl Radio
Boss Broad’s cross-genre world of book reviews, pop Americana, and Springsteen song translations slaked thirsts I forgot I had: the quench of reading it restored me. Volpert re-rhythms and re-lyricks anthems of defiance and love with extraordinary language energy. Her wise words brace American pop and political culture with feminism and anti-racism, gender equality, queer style, social justice, and the nobility of teaching the young, while giving full-throttle to a frank and funny sincerity we wish we too could muster in the face of the cynicism that feeds politics and life around us. Reading it, we are in the room with greatness, and it is us and who we are. Boss Broad needs no blurb. It’s that cool: in 'interrogat[ing] the social norms that hold us down,' it celebrates what frees us.
-Erin Moure, author of The Elements
SIBLING RIVALRY PRESS, 2019
This Springsteen Catechism for Youth; this apostrophe to The Boss, blessed by Pope Colbert; this time-warped documentary fiction; this cacophony of voices disrupting notions of listening, hearing; this queering of Bruce’s lyrics until we become champions of intersectional justice; this fandom that exposes us all—destabilizes our fantasies of the real and shows us what, in ritual worship, destroys us every day. Read this, say three Hail Marys, and loan Boss Broad to a friend who knows that suffering which is sacred. Amen.
-Kass Fleisher, author of Talking Out of School
Fleeing toward another America, as Genet says, I love Boss Broad! It grapples with the question of where we have been and where we place ourselves for a strategic future in music, in poems, and in prose strumming along our bones. We need Megan Volpert for the strength of never surrendering, for knowing how we outnumber the fascists.
-CA Conrad, author of While Standing in Line for Death
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A MIDDLE-AGED HERO?
Boss Broad contains forty poems and dozens of essays that explore this very question. The poems are English-to-English translations of Bruce Springsteen songs--popular ones where he directly addresses a female listener, which Volpert audaciously rewrites to answer the Boss back using his own rhyme and meter. In these pages Volpert wears Springsteen's own lyrical swagger so that Rosalita becomes a drag queen, Wendy captains her own ship, and Bobby Jean finally comes out of the closet. The essays examine injections of spirituality in progressive politics, with topics including Stephen Colbert, Patti Smith, the author’s career as a punk high school English teacher, what she learned surviving hurricanes in Louisiana, and meditations on what it means to be a cool liberal. As usual, Volpert trespasses on hallowed ground, doing battle with her white lady demons in the name of rock ‘n’ roll.