Magical Negro
Magical Negro is an archive of Black everydayness, a catalog of contemporary folk heroes, an ethnography of ancestral grief, and an inventory of figureheads, idioms, and customs. These American poems are both elegy and jive, joke and declaration, songs of congregation and self-conception. They connect themes of loneliness, displacement, grief, ancestral trauma, and objectification, while exploring and troubling tropes and stereotypes of Black Americans. Focused primarily on depictions of Black womanhood alongside personal narratives, the collection tackles interior and exterior politics—of both the body and society, of both the individual and the collective experience. In Magical Negro, Parker creates a space of witness, of airing grievances, of pointing out patterns. In these poems are living documents, pleas, latent traumas, inside jokes, and unspoken anxieties situated as firmly in the past as in the present—timeless Black melancholies and triumphs.

Magical Negro Details

TitleMagical Negro
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 5th, 2019
PublisherTin House Books
ISBN-139781947793187
Rating
GenrePoetry, Race, Nonfiction, Feminism, Womens

Magical Negro Review

  • Roxane
    January 1, 1970
    I don't really know how to talk about poetry. I know what I like and I know what I don't like. These poems are amazing. Strange. Clever. Playful. Powerful. Intricately crafted. Parker takes on the contemporary black condition, interracial dating, history, the gap in Angela Davis's teeth. She has a nuanced understanding of popular culture and how blackness contributes to what we consume. A lot to admire here. Great book.
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  • Adam Dalva
    January 1, 1970
    Terrific book - lives up to the high standards of Parker's earlier poetry collections, while branching out in new, incisive directions.
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    "No one can serve two masters like we can, be future and what they threatened to forget."My first time reading Morgan Parker's work was when I received an ARC for The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic. To say that I LOVED this anthology would be an understatement. See review here: Black Girl Magic So when I came across this title on NetGalley I was super excited. Magical Negro is radical, elegiac, witty and intimate. Using cultural and historical references, Morgan Parker unabashedly con "No one can serve two masters like we can, be future and what they threatened to forget."My first time reading Morgan Parker's work was when I received an ARC for The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic. To say that I LOVED this anthology would be an understatement. See review here: Black Girl Magic So when I came across this title on NetGalley I was super excited. Magical Negro is radical, elegiac, witty and intimate. Using cultural and historical references, Morgan Parker unabashedly confronts the traumas of our past and our present. Her prose speaks to both the collective experience and to crimes committed against oneself. Magical Negro has transformative power, one that you can return to time and again and be moved.As with any anthology there were some poems I liked better then others. My favorites were: Nancy Meyers and My Dream of WhitenessMagical Negro #84: The Black BodyA Brief History of the PresentWhat I Am after Terrance HayesIf you are over staying wokeWe Are the House That Holds the Table at Which Yes We Will Happily Take a Goddamn Seat after SolangeMagical Negro #80: BrooklynI am looking forward to Morgan Parker's upcoming YA novel Who Put This Song On? that is due out later this year. Special thanks to NetGalley, Tin House books and Morgan Parker for advanced access to this book.
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  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    I read these poems twice, before and after a historical novel about racism in Oregon, and it strikes a chord with me that this collection is published by Tin House. One of the poems even talks about how it's too late for her to try to live in Portland or Brooklyn (the two homes of her publishing house.) And so the poetry settles into the reality of our existence, and the need to confront discomfort if we are really going to talk about race. Since I had a review copy I can't quote any poems direc I read these poems twice, before and after a historical novel about racism in Oregon, and it strikes a chord with me that this collection is published by Tin House. One of the poems even talks about how it's too late for her to try to live in Portland or Brooklyn (the two homes of her publishing house.) And so the poetry settles into the reality of our existence, and the need to confront discomfort if we are really going to talk about race. Since I had a review copy I can't quote any poems directly, but I want to, so much. Morgan Parker is in conversation with many of these topics, with current events, with other poets and poems, with the white gaze, the male gaze. Several poems are titled Magical Negro #x and imagine the perspective of several key figures in history; some are broader like the one about "the black body" (it repeats "the body is a person" to great effect.)I can't decide which collection I like more - this, which seems more of a direct response to recent events, or There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, which gave me my first introduction to the strength and unpandering resistance of her words.Favorites from this collection:Everything Will Be Taken Away"...You are a woman nowbut you have always had skin...."Whites OnlyMagical Negro #84: The Black BodyOde to Fried Chicken's Guest Appearance on ScandalIf you are over staying woke (and here in audio)I Told My Therapist I Tried to Meditate and She LaughedWe Are the House That Holds the Table at Which Yes We Will Happily Take a Goddamn Seat"...The difference between worthand worthless without themis science: how it feels to not beable to see a person, and the numberof instances when we believedwe should die. ..."Magical Negro #80: Brooklyn"...Lead us not into white neighborhoods.Deliver us from microaggressions...."
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  • Bobbieshiann
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 12 lines into the first poem and tears filled my eyes ready to escape and poor down my face. I read myself. I read my life. This is a reflection of me. Of my people. I cry because sometimes the hurt can sit in your stomach for so long until you release it. “and repetition is a literary device, and paranoia is a weakness of the oppressed: we cannot be mentally sound”.Morgan Parker points out all that is Black. She brings forth the stereotypes that has shaped an image of us that may not be rep 4.5 12 lines into the first poem and tears filled my eyes ready to escape and poor down my face. I read myself. I read my life. This is a reflection of me. Of my people. I cry because sometimes the hurt can sit in your stomach for so long until you release it. “and repetition is a literary device, and paranoia is a weakness of the oppressed: we cannot be mentally sound”.Morgan Parker points out all that is Black. She brings forth the stereotypes that has shaped an image of us that may not be repaired. But does that matter? She shares experiences with White men but also shares the judgment. The inner judgment one gives to their self as they date outside their race. She brings forth the beauty/what we go through to be beautiful (hot comb), hurt, history, and truth of Black people. The way she speaks of the Black womanhood blew my mind. It was raining truth! I will be honest, I reread so many parts to fully grasp what she is saying. To fully grasp my feelings. Yes, it is short but it is not a quick read. It is something to sit and reflect on and the mixed feelings and connections are okay.
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  • K
    January 1, 1970
    Magical Negro feels like...when I text my Black queer friend(s) that I feel alone and want to die, and she hears my pain. Then we talk about the new hair products we’re using and the white girl at work who pissed us off the other day.
  • jo
    January 1, 1970
    The poetry in this book is stunning. It's lyrical but also punchy and also so very cutting. If you are white, like me, you need to read this. You need to know all the ways in which Black folks are dehumanized. You need to learn how nano-atomic it is. How string-molecular. How, not daily, but minuteLY. You need to know that every time you say "all of us" you are cutting out millions. You need to learn a new way of thinking. You need to turn yourself around. This will help. I promise it will help. The poetry in this book is stunning. It's lyrical but also punchy and also so very cutting. If you are white, like me, you need to read this. You need to know all the ways in which Black folks are dehumanized. You need to learn how nano-atomic it is. How string-molecular. How, not daily, but minuteLY. You need to know that every time you say "all of us" you are cutting out millions. You need to learn a new way of thinking. You need to turn yourself around. This will help. I promise it will help. But you have to put yourself through it. Do it now.
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  • Ellie
    January 1, 1970
    Morgan Parker makes miracles happen with words. Her first book, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé was so fabulous I had to read this as soon as I found out about it. She writes piercingly of race. Vivid images are counterpointed with street vernacular or more ordinary speech but the combination is thrilling and often disturbing. Her poems are both a celebration of African-Americans and an indictment of white America.
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  • Jonathan
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, just wow, what a way to start 2019. This collection is a must read for everyone. Especially white people, more importantly white men.
  • Leah Rachel von Essen
    January 1, 1970
    Morgan Parker's newest poetry collection, MAGICAL NEGRO, is an incredible catalog of everyday despair, hope, fear in Black life, in Black womanhood. The book is divided between three parts: "Let Us Now Praise Famous Magical Negroes," "Field Negro Field Notes," and "Popular Negro Punchlines." Parker evokes the voices of figureheads and folk heroes; Parker calls back to the deepest, oldest grief and black traumas while talking about her sexuality, her fear, her hurt today in its vivid pop culture Morgan Parker's newest poetry collection, MAGICAL NEGRO, is an incredible catalog of everyday despair, hope, fear in Black life, in Black womanhood. The book is divided between three parts: "Let Us Now Praise Famous Magical Negroes," "Field Negro Field Notes," and "Popular Negro Punchlines." Parker evokes the voices of figureheads and folk heroes; Parker calls back to the deepest, oldest grief and black traumas while talking about her sexuality, her fear, her hurt today in its vivid pop culture and color..Titles of poems include “Who Were Frederick Douglass’s Cousins, and Other Quotidian Black History Facts That I Wish I Learned in School,” “I TOLD MY THERAPIST I TRIED TO MEDITATE AND SHE LAUGHED,” “My Sister Says White Supremacy Is Turning Her Crazy,” and “We Are the House That Holds the Table at Which Yes We Will Happily Take a Goddamn Seat.” Her poems are about power, personal, intimate, public, institutional. She writes about every white boy she's ever dated in "Matt." In the poems "The History of Black People" and "The History of the Present," Parker brutally but simply tells stories of hope, despair, of the need to just survive ("I worry sometimes I will only be allowed a death story."), and "Now More Than Ever" tears into white guilt with her repeating "and ever and ever"s. My two favorite poems were "Let's Get Some Better Angels at This Party," a poem about seeing angels everywhere ("There is one who looks like your brother."), and "Two White Girls in the African Braid Shop on Marcy and Fulton," a poem full of questions, wondering, the invisible shaking of heads..It's a superb, quick collection that once again shows Parker's incredible talent. MAGICAL NEGRO is out February 5.
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  • Dominic
    January 1, 1970
    This ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Parker's previous collection has been on my radar for a long time, and has evaded my grasp on a few occasions. When the opportunity to review this new collection appeared (thank you, NetGalley!), I jumped on it. While there are some strong poems here and there in the book's center section, on the whole I never did catch the wave or rhythm of this book. While there are some moments that pack a punch, I wanted to This ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Parker's previous collection has been on my radar for a long time, and has evaded my grasp on a few occasions. When the opportunity to review this new collection appeared (thank you, NetGalley!), I jumped on it. While there are some strong poems here and there in the book's center section, on the whole I never did catch the wave or rhythm of this book. While there are some moments that pack a punch, I wanted to love this from beginning to end. Just glance at the table of contents and you'll see Parker's way with titles. Utterly brilliant ones: "If you are over staying woke" and "We Are the House That Holds the Table at Which Yes We Will Happily Take a Goddamn Seat" and "My Sister Says White Supremacy Is Turning Her Crazy." And how can you resist of title of her debut collection, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé ? You can't.But for all the shots of fire and defiance throughout this book (and there is plenty to provoke and celebrate), too often I was left a little cold once I made it to the end of a poem. My favourite poems were probably "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and "Who Were Frederick Douglass's Cousins, and Other Quotidian Black History Facts That I Wish I Learned in School." "Matt" is also a stand-out. I guess I preferred, in this book at least, the more narrative poems to the abstract ones.Parker is definitely a talent, and these images are going to sing to readers. I just wish I was one of them. I would not be against reading more of her work.
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  • Megan O'Hara
    January 1, 1970
    someone teach me how to read poetry bc this is good.
  • Anthony Chan
    January 1, 1970
    morgan parker is my jam!!! "It Was Summer Now and the Colored People Came Out Into the Sunshine" wrecked me bad!!
  • Ari
    January 1, 1970
    IQ "This is a phrase used by Whites to express their surprise/ and disapproval of social or political conditions which, to the Negro, are devastatingly usual. Often accompanied by an unsolicited touch on the forearm or shoulder, this expression is a favorite among the most politically liberal but socially comfortable of Whites. Its origins and implications are necessarily vague and undefined. In other words, the source moment of separation between 'now' and 'ever' must never be specified." ('Now IQ "This is a phrase used by Whites to express their surprise/ and disapproval of social or political conditions which, to the Negro, are devastatingly usual. Often accompanied by an unsolicited touch on the forearm or shoulder, this expression is a favorite among the most politically liberal but socially comfortable of Whites. Its origins and implications are necessarily vague and undefined. In other words, the source moment of separation between 'now' and 'ever' must never be specified." ('Now More Than Ever', 32)Parker's voice is compelling, incisive and utterly distinct. I could quote her poems for days on end and I need to do a better job of rereading her poems so that I can really dedicate time to mulling them over. The titles of her poetry collections have all been great but this title and the subsequent poem titles (such as 'Wo Were Frederick Douglass' Cousins and Other Quotidian Black History Facts that I Wish I Learned in School', 'I TOLD MY THERAPIST I TRIED TO MEDIATE AND SHE LAUGHED' or 'If you are over staying woke') are my favorite hands down. They're a mix of clever, deliciously dry and achingly poignant. She manages to convey a variety of emotions in sparse, luminous language, particularly stunning when she reflects on Black womanhood and black culture. 'Now More Than Ever' in particular was outstanding to me as well as 'Matt.' Parker writes with this sly tone and then delivers a devastating conclusion in a few short sentences. For example in Matt she starts off with some 'well meaning liberal' white boy romantic observations/microaggressions that are more amusingly tolerated than painful but ends with "Matt has kissed me hundreds of times and he kissed my ancestors, too. He held them down and kissed them real good. He was young and he could afford it. When he touched them, they always smiled, almost as if it had been rehearsed." ('Matt', 48) which caused me to rock back on my heels.Other quotable notable lines;"There;s no way a black woman killed herself, because everyone knows we can withstand inhuman amounts of pain. (There's no way she didn't hang herself, dumb brown martyr, not mentally sound to begin with.)" ('A Brief History of the Present, 40)"Don't smile unless you want to./ Sleep in./ Don't see the news./ Remember what/the world is like/for white people." ('If you are over staying woke', 52)"Lead us not into white neighborhoods./ Deliver us from microaggressions." ('Magical Negro #80: Brooklyn', 77)"The Negro is not good with money, but why should mathematics be applied to something as precious as flesh? Why should the Negro be good with money when the Negro is always getting sold?" ('Toward a New Theory of Negro Propaganda', 88).
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  • Misha
    January 1, 1970
    Lines from: "Toward a New Theory of Negro Propaganda""White propaganda is a stutter in the imagination.""White propaganda relies upon the unwavering belief that any versions of nirvana require the absence of the Negro. This is both the conscious and unconscious peak of White Imagination.""A young white woman has called the police. It is possible that in the dark slumbering of their unconscious, the White imagines that the only remedy for fear is death."
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  • paige
    January 1, 1970
    Exceptional and canonical. Should be required reading. She reimagines poetic forms and explodes them; she's a true expert, and this is a game changer collection. "Now More Than Ever" should be required reading. Stunning, brilliant work. All hail Morgan Parker.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come.
  • Chandra
    January 1, 1970
    A strange and abstract style of poetry that left me feeling like I need to, and want to, read the book again.
  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    Upon reading these poems, I am now pondering the idea of white supremacy as defined in terms of the control of the time narrative.
  • Emily Polson
    January 1, 1970
    RTC
  • Jenny
    January 1, 1970
    Morgan Parker's poetry is fire, and not just in the colloquial sense. These poems burn and destroy and lighten the dark. Painful, harsh, and cleansing. The last section was my favorite.
  • Viktoria
    January 1, 1970
    Still reading - dense with everyday life, feeling, successes and failures, and possibilities. Don’t have my favorites yet...
  • Lalaa
    January 1, 1970
    When I think of some of the books that I couldn’t wait to read in 2019, Magical Negro was at the top of that list. I’m pleased to say that it did not disappoint. Fierce and extremely inventive each poem in this collection spoke to me and often acted as that little voice in the back of my mind.I was introduced to Morgan Parker when I read “There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé” that took a brash exploration of what it means to be a black woman in contemporary American culture. Needless to When I think of some of the books that I couldn’t wait to read in 2019, Magical Negro was at the top of that list. I’m pleased to say that it did not disappoint. Fierce and extremely inventive each poem in this collection spoke to me and often acted as that little voice in the back of my mind.I was introduced to Morgan Parker when I read “There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé” that took a brash exploration of what it means to be a black woman in contemporary American culture. Needless to say, I expected nothing less in her latest work, Magical Negro.The collection takes a look at the everydayness of contemporary America, exploring the conversations that are taking place right now around the country. Focused primarily on depictions of black womanhood alongside personal narratives, the collection tackles interior and exterior politics—of both the body and society.The beauty of this collection lies within the way that Parker writes about the black experience as its own beautiful culture and community. She explores black womanhood with grief looking through the lens of a history that is full of hope, fear, and despair.The way in which Parker talks about deep-rooted black traumas and the lines she draws within her own reality is soul-shaking and might I even say magical.There were many poems I truly loved, some of my favs were:Magical Negro #84: The Black BodyA Brief History of the PresentI Told My Therapist I Tried to Meditate and She LaughedWho Were Frederick Douglass’s Cousins, and Other Quotidian Black History Facts That I Wish I Learned in SchoolMagical Negro #80: BrooklynThis collection solidified, for me, that Parker is a definite strong talent with an important voice. Overall I think that Parker delivers an important and strong depiction of Black America and I hope that her words are enough to make many people feel uncomfortable.
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  • Sandra
    January 1, 1970
    "Nothing helps me not think about universes." Magical Negro is a beautifully sharp and nuanced portrait of the black female experience. Morgan Parker writes poems inflicted with emotion and carefully scattered pop culture references that are challenging and affecting. Every poem is an earnest glimpse into herself and race in America. A truly powerful, devastating and important collection.
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  • Rebecca Stoner
    January 1, 1970
    Morgan Parker wasn't playing around before. In Magical Negro, she goes deeper, wilder, shows her power. She's full of righteous rage. Parker's especially devastating when she talks about the intimate uses of power (even if you don't read the whole book, definitely read the poem about white boys named Matt...they're always named Matt) and the way the history of brutality towards black people echoes in seemingly mundane interactions today. A really affecting book.
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  • Shadira
    January 1, 1970
    This work is a comprehensive meditation on the intersections of Blackness, womanhood, consciousness, and Millennialist identity in the Trump-era America. There is acute sensitivity and cultural analysis transcribed in these poems, as well as subsequent soul weariness, birthed from the inherited Afro-American collective and enacted through day to day interactions with whites, with men, and with oneself.The consistent theme here is race, but then, as Parker expounds, when one is Black, one cannot This work is a comprehensive meditation on the intersections of Blackness, womanhood, consciousness, and Millennialist identity in the Trump-era America. There is acute sensitivity and cultural analysis transcribed in these poems, as well as subsequent soul weariness, birthed from the inherited Afro-American collective and enacted through day to day interactions with whites, with men, and with oneself.The consistent theme here is race, but then, as Parker expounds, when one is Black, one cannot escape confronting race, whether one wants to or not. It's the ever dominant reality. Her lyrics here is the stream of consciousness in all our minds everyday.Magical Negro will read differently to different readers; such a statement is obviously true for any book on the planet, but here the spectrum of possible reactions seems particularly worth contemplating. When asked who she sees this book as being “for,” Parker has answered “posterity,” but certainly the experience of encountering the text is going to yield different emotions and insights depending upon one’s own race, class, gender, and sexuality. This interplay with intersectionality and its subsequent evocation of varied responses stands as one of the book’s many considerable strengths.It’s a cliché to call a work of art a conversation starter, but this book is. One could spend hours discussing not only the whole collection but each individual poem. In “Magical Negro #84: The Black Body,” for example — which repeats for five lines in an eight-line poem: “The body is a person” — there’s a lot to talk about in terms of who is saying this and to whom, of who needs to hear this and who seems incapable of fully accepting it.This endlessly discussable quality means that Magical Negro would be a marvelous book club pick and fantastic in the classroom. For Parker’s material itself is expansive and incisive, but so too is her versatility with form and language. She deploys anaphora to acrobatic and multifarious effect, as in the long poem “The History of Black People” in which she lists:The history of black people, a new series coming to BET twenty years ago.The history of black people, an investigation.The history of black people, a tragicomic horror film.The history of black people, or, joy stinging pink lips.The history of black people says to me.The history of black people goes blank.The history of black people adapted from white people.And her prose poem “Two White Girls in the African Braid Shop on Marcy and Fulton” presents a dense wall of text comprised of a relentless fusillade of short, sharp sentences all punctuated by periods, even when they’re questions:Does it hurt? Why did you come here? What do you want? Are you filming this? Do you live in this neighborhood? Do you have a picture? Do you feel comfortable? Can I ask is that a weave. Why do you feel comfortable? Is the neighborhood treating you well? Do you read the news? Where’s your real hair. Do you like America. Are you filming this? How much. Dollars. Did you hear about the trial? Where are we going after this?The dizzyingly interdisciplinary nature of Parker’s approach, as well as her adeptness in blending different registers, makes her poem “The High Priestess of Soul’s Sunday Morning Visit to the Wall of Respect” worth quoting here in its entirety as a representative example of how captivating Parker’s investigations can be:In MAGICAL NEGRO, Morgan Parker creates a space of witness, of airing grievances, of pointing out patterns. In these poems are living documents, pleas, latent traumas, inside jokes and unspoken anxieties situated as firmly in the past as in the present - timeless Black melancholy and triumphs.
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    Morgan Parker has such a distinctive, compelling voice, consistent across her last collection and this one. I feel like when I write poetry, I can get flowery, it can feel like I'm piling on words in my attempts to reach something but Parker cuts to the bone. This might sound like a roast but it's really not (I love Tweeting!!! I earnestly think it makes me a better writer) -- her lines can remind me of Tweets in their concision, their internalness -- how they feel written for the purpose of inv Morgan Parker has such a distinctive, compelling voice, consistent across her last collection and this one. I feel like when I write poetry, I can get flowery, it can feel like I'm piling on words in my attempts to reach something but Parker cuts to the bone. This might sound like a roast but it's really not (I love Tweeting!!! I earnestly think it makes me a better writer) -- her lines can remind me of Tweets in their concision, their internalness -- how they feel written for the purpose of investigating her own dark, sometimes confusing-to-an-outsider feelings rather than explaining to an audience. And they're so witty: "Since I thought I'd be dead / by now / everything I do is fucking perfect," the opening line to "Magical Negro #217: Diana Ross Finishing a Rib in Alabama, 1990s"; she really lands so many opening and final lines. Perhaps I could critique this aspect of her writing by saying that the confusingness/wittiness might be related, that she might reach for dark punchlines over clarity, but at the same time, I don't know if that's an actual critique or a case for myself becoming a better reader, or for the fact that I'm not who this collection is for: other black women, or maybe primarily Parker's own dark dark psyche hah.Structurally the collection is bound by its title and titular poems, "Magical Negro #X: ____," named for archetypes of black people as constructed by white supremacy, in which black individuals are often identified to participate in ("#607: Gladys Knight on the 200th Episode of The Jeffersons," so cutting). Often the titles aren't directly explained by the rest of the poem (as Parker often does). Still these poems are clearly interested in not only deconstructing the archetypes, but expressing weariness, anger, self-loathing at the act of writing toward deconstruction itself. "#84: The Black Body": "Give it a new verb. / Stop writing poetry. / Go outside. Make blood. / The body is a person [repeated 5x]." There is such darkness to the way she talks about coping with/resisting white supremacy. It is often done alone, in loneliness; the rare poems that nod toward a collective are not so much triumphant as they are wary: the final lines "This is our first and last love song" from "The History of Black People," "It is time for war" from "It Was Summer Now and the Colored People Came Out Into the Sunshine."Another (or like, overlapping) thread is this "academic" voice -- one that itemizes and enumerates "Magical Negroes," defines broad "histories," explicates white boyfriends named "Matt" and the tiring adage "Now More Than Ever" and "Negro Propaganda" in a series of prose poems. This voice is so long-winded and explicit, in direct contrast to Parker's "normal" voice. In using it she turns the voice of scientific racism against white supremacy. And she's super wry and dark.This collection reminded me a lot of the Erykah Badu album New Amerykah Part 1. I'm not going to explain that because I want to go to lunch lol.
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    To the man who walked into the hotel gym and then promptly left when he heard ‘blood moon in my pussy’ come full volume from my iphone because I forgot my headphones, you really should have stuck around. Morgan Parker holds nothing back in this brilliant collection of poems be it in language or topic. They’re bold statements that are reactions to current events yet reinforced by history. I loved that she spoke not only about the aggressions and microaggressions continuously committed to a commun To the man who walked into the hotel gym and then promptly left when he heard ‘blood moon in my pussy’ come full volume from my iphone because I forgot my headphones, you really should have stuck around. Morgan Parker holds nothing back in this brilliant collection of poems be it in language or topic. They’re bold statements that are reactions to current events yet reinforced by history. I loved that she spoke not only about the aggressions and microaggressions continuously committed to a community but also of those continuously committed to oneself. I was particularly attuned to her verses on the way that black people are treated by the media, how black characters in literature, on television, everywhere don’t drive a plot forward but act as ‘a magical negro’ in order to serve some purpose / stimulus or revelation to the main (read: white) character. It brought to mind a recent article on how the American coast guard in some quasi-colonial act and under the mask of the bizarrely ongoing Operation Bahamas Turks & Caicos burned down a weed farm in Andros one day (one day as in as of writing this just two days ago) and so I went to look at their regional Facebook page to see how they chose to relay that only to find that they shared pictures of Sidney Poitier in celebration of black history month instead.I digress, but not really, because once you learn to recognize the use of the ‘magical negro’ in the many ways that Parker describes in her poetry and in the countless ways all around you all the time (like what I wrote about above) it’s really going to make you feel uncomfortable and that discomfort provides a renewed awareness which is why I found this collection so powerful.
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  • vgl3
    January 1, 1970
    Another great collection from Morgan Parker. It is hard to describe why I like her style so much; the usual platitudes ‘raw’, ‘powerful’ seem so impersonal for a writer who combines nuance with no-nonsense language, who can draw parallels between history and pop-culture without lessening the value of either, who can write obscurities and small customs and yet be completely clear. She does not wrap up her meanings in softened language and metaphors designed to sit gently against the ear, appealin Another great collection from Morgan Parker. It is hard to describe why I like her style so much; the usual platitudes ‘raw’, ‘powerful’ seem so impersonal for a writer who combines nuance with no-nonsense language, who can draw parallels between history and pop-culture without lessening the value of either, who can write obscurities and small customs and yet be completely clear. She does not wrap up her meanings in softened language and metaphors designed to sit gently against the ear, appealing to still-lingering sensibilities; there are no ‘flowers’ and ‘buds’ (a bug-bear of mine that continues to cling on, even in feminist literature), but ‘pussies’: bold and assertive whilst still acknowledging ever-present objectification. My personal favourites included ‘Magical Negro #1: Jesus Christ’, ‘We Are the House That Holds the Table at Which Yes We Will Happily Take a Goddamn Seat’, ‘Magical Negro #80: Brooklyn’ and ‘Toward a New Theory of Negro Propaganda’. I cannot wait to see what Morgan Parker does next.
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  • Rojo
    January 1, 1970
    The only recommendation that was given for this book when we went to SubText in St. Paul was "READ THIS AUTHOR." All caps, nothing else. Apparently the bookseller that day had just finished it the night before and thought that it was one of the best things he's ever read in a while--or maybe poetry-wise, at least. I don't know if it's one of the ~best~ things I've read poetry-wise in a while, but it's definitely up there. There were some poems that I thought, "Yes, that is ~exactly~ what I mean! The only recommendation that was given for this book when we went to SubText in St. Paul was "READ THIS AUTHOR." All caps, nothing else. Apparently the bookseller that day had just finished it the night before and thought that it was one of the best things he's ever read in a while--or maybe poetry-wise, at least. I don't know if it's one of the ~best~ things I've read poetry-wise in a while, but it's definitely up there. There were some poems that I thought, "Yes, that is ~exactly~ what I mean!" And then there were others that I just didn't really understand. One of the cool and sometimes frustrating things about being part of the diaspora is not always quite understanding what are to be considered "common Black knowledge," and yet still understanding that the struggle is real. There were several pages that I earmarked because even though I didn't quite get the specific experience, I still got the feeling, and that, I think, is something universal and unique to Black people in America.
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