The Stuff of Hollywood is a meditation on the pervasiveness of violence in America. In this book-length poem, Niki Herd relies on various modes—images, prose, and lyric and documentary poems—to reflect upon the quotidian nature of gun culture, police killings, and political unrest. From a busy Waffle House, to a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, to an Uber ride down a Chicago street, readers are placed in various “film” locations and watch as America becomes a character in its own absurd movie. In one section, excerpted language from the continuity script of D.W. Griffith’s 1915 The Birth of a Nation is juxtaposed with text from the January 6 congressional hearings, suggesting a fragile line between real and engineered brutality. Herd interrogates empire and the ways in which violence is consumed and normalized. The Stuff of Hollywood is an elegy for a country that never existed beyond the screen.