The Willies
The Willies is a book that finds its author grappling with the intersections of race, gender, and a family trying to stay close, despite the failing health of its patriarch. These poems are honest, vulnerable, and unflinching in their ability to look into the speaker's complications. The poems trace the author's childhood, adulthood, and hopeful future, all of them asking the central question of how a person continues to love themselves, even as all they know evolves and vanishes.

The Willies Details

TitleThe Willies
Author
ReleaseFeb 4th, 2020
PublisherButton Poetry
ISBN-139781943735662
Rating
GenrePoetry, LGBT

The Willies Review

  • Emily B
    January 1, 1970
    This collection of contemporary and relevant poems explores sexuality, family relationships, race and alcoholism. Its honest and worth the short times it takes to read. This collection of contemporary and relevant poems explores sexuality, family relationships, race and alcoholism. It’s honest and worth the short times it takes to read.
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  • Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
    January 1, 1970
    Yes, I like how this collection was written with all the angst and the emotions. This collection is all about the author's experience of being a writer, his sexuality and facing discrimination for the same and also about racism. I like how the author focuses on the people around him and the several issues that he had to face; losing his best friend and the grief he went through. The collection is really short. The words are deep and meaningful. Please do not rush through the words. Take it Yes, I like how this collection was written with all the angst and the emotions. This collection is all about the author's experience of being a writer, his sexuality and facing discrimination for the same and also about racism. I like how the author focuses on the people around him and the several issues that he had to face; losing his best friend and the grief he went through. The collection is really short. The words are deep and meaningful. Please do not rush through the words. Take it slowly. At times, it might be really difficult to get through some of the lines but somehow that's alright. I was expecting much more from this one. And it ended way too soon. Thanks #NetGalley for the copy of #TheWillies
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  • Andrea Pole
    January 1, 1970
    The Willies, a collection of poems by Adam Falkner, is an introspective and conversational approach to queerhood in America in which the poet lays himself bare with honesty and candor. The musings are wide ranging yet accessible, presented at times with humour, and often surprising, yet always raw and thought-provoking. Recommended.Many thanks to NetGalley and Button Poetry for the opportunity to read this ARC.
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  • Anwen Hayward
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the publisher via Netgalley for the ARC.This one got to me, man. This is the power of poetry. Falkner expresses youthful queerness better than anyone I've ever read. The lengths we go to in order to appear straight - not even straight, necessarily, but anything other than that which we are - and the reclamation of what we've missed out on when finally we're able to be honest with ourselves about it. I was expecting this poetry collection to be heartbreaking, but I wasn't expecting it Thanks to the publisher via Netgalley for the ARC.This one got to me, man. This is the power of poetry. Falkner expresses youthful queerness better than anyone I've ever read. The lengths we go to in order to appear straight - not even straight, necessarily, but anything other than that which we are - and the reclamation of what we've missed out on when finally we're able to be honest with ourselves about it. I was expecting this poetry collection to be heartbreaking, but I wasn't expecting it to also be hilarious; I can't quote from it, but there are two poems in particular which had me laughing out loud. There were poems about white guilt which initially made me a little uncomfortable, but with each poem on that theme it became clearer what Falkner is saying, and I think it's a worthwhile point; that cultural appropriation can become a kind of contest to absolve white guilt. This is an ambitious and honest collection, and I was expecting to like it, but not to love it. And I do love it.I want to own this collection, and will absolutely be preordering it so that it can sit on my shelf. I want to carry it around with me and dog-ear all the pages and highlight my favourite lines.
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  • Keondra Freemyn
    January 1, 1970
    i started this book with an open mind, but i ended up quite disappointed. many reviewers have mentioned that the collection touches on race as a theme, but really, it's about whiteness and grappling with black cultural appropriation. everyone has their journey and i don't want to undermine the individual work that the author may be doing, but the collection itself is unsuccessful in capturing the intricacies of this sensitive issue. the collection covers many other themes (queerness, alcoholism, i started this book with an open mind, but i ended up quite disappointed. many reviewers have mentioned that the collection touches on race as a theme, but really, it's about whiteness and grappling with black cultural appropriation. everyone has their journey and i don't want to undermine the individual work that the author may be doing, but the collection itself is unsuccessful in capturing the intricacies of this sensitive issue. the collection covers many other themes (queerness, alcoholism, mental health, etc) but i'm disappointed at how Black culture has been used to frame white guilt. a quick glance at the notes page reflects the myriad of Black cultural workers the writer borrowed lines from for this collection without really delving into the issue of privilege, institutional racism, and how power works within these contexts. without pondering the context in which the writer/speaker is making choices to perform blackness, the poems are flat and perpetuate the very concerns the poems attempt to subvert. i would not recommend this collection.*i received a complimentary advanced copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    "Nothing stays weightless forever"These poems were raw, filled with emotion, and honesty. A quick read but a glance through the eyes of the poet. Struggles with family, love and life. Some of the poems definitely stood out more than others, overall a solid collection.
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  • Victoria
    January 1, 1970
    The Willies, poet and scholar Adam Falkners first full-length collection, offers a sharp and vulnerable new portrait of the journey into queerhood in America. This collection as it is read feels so cathartic, like it's being unleashed into the world and it makes for such pacey and riveting read as you fall into the words throughout this collection. How Falkner talks about himself being queer or the grief of losing someone, no matter the thought, he spills feeling withs his words and it makes for The Willies, poet and scholar Adam Falkner’s first full-length collection, offers a sharp and vulnerable new portrait of the journey into queerhood in America. This collection as it is read feels so cathartic, like it's being unleashed into the world and it makes for such pacey and riveting read as you fall into the words throughout this collection. How Falkner talks about himself being queer or the grief of losing someone, no matter the thought, he spills feeling withs his words and it makes for such captivating reading - how he can put how he feels into metaphors, is just beautifully done too (for example, 'I am suspended like a song trapped in a mason jar'). The style in which he captures his thoughts changes, how he uses different ways of writing really make you change how you think about what you are reading and that pulls you in deeper into his words and makes you connect further to the thoughts he has. I really appreciate the integrity of his words but also how the author wants you to read them too. It hits you hard, it makes you feel the sadness and the hurt but it is done so beautifully throughout and it kept me reading until the very end. (I received an ARC from Netgalley for honest review).
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  • Montgomery Pierce
    January 1, 1970
    The Willies is a shockingly honest and raw poetry collection that dives into the depths of growing up queer and finding oneself and ones identity. It bisects expertly with themes of grief and loss, grappling with familial acceptance, and learning how to accept oneselfeven if the journey to get there is often laid on uneven ground. Between the lines of pining prose, lyrical quotes, and witty humor, Adam Falkner adds in sharp critiques of whiteness and his own white privilege. This collection is, The Willies is a shockingly honest and raw poetry collection that dives into the depths of growing up queer and finding oneself and one’s identity. It bisects expertly with themes of grief and loss, grappling with familial acceptance, and learning how to accept oneself—even if the journey to get there is often laid on uneven ground. Between the lines of pining prose, lyrical quotes, and witty humor, Adam Falkner adds in sharp critiques of whiteness and his own white privilege. This collection is, if nothing else, potently autobiographical and refreshingly self-aware. If it is lacking anything, it’s the fact that Falkner could have explored the intersection of queer identity and whiteness farther. As it is, The Willies is a must-read collection of queer poetry, and an apt choice for fans who enjoy works similar to Mary Lambert’s Shame is an Ocean I Swim Across.Content NotesMentions of death, homophobia, alcohol abuse/alcoholism/rehab, violence, grief/loss, parental death.I received an ARC copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks #NetGalley for the review copy of #TheWilliesI had a hard time getting into many of these poems, but the ones I liked all hit very deeply. "My Grandma Calls Me Barack" almost offhandedly describes the emotionally difficult experience of seeing a loved one go through dementia and all of the little signs that though they're physically speaking to you, their mind is in a different time and place. "Fishing the Little Pigeon" is about family legacies - the good and the bad. In this poem, a Thanks #NetGalley for the review copy of #TheWilliesI had a hard time getting into many of these poems, but the ones I liked all hit very deeply. "My Grandma Calls Me Barack" almost offhandedly describes the emotionally difficult experience of seeing a loved one go through dementia and all of the little signs that though they're physically speaking to you, their mind is in a different time and place. "Fishing the Little Pigeon" is about family legacies - the good and the bad. In this poem, a young boy goes fishing with his grandfather and sneaks a beer without really knowing what it is, then is scared to speak the truth because he doesn't want to ruin the fishing tradition, while a different family legacy (drinking) is unknowingly taking hold. That said, the overall collection was significantly more impactful and put-together than the individual poems themselves. Taken as a cohesive story or memoir, one can see the growth, challenges, insights, development of identity, etc. being told through all of these lines.
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  • lu ☾
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsThis was such a lovely collection. It mainly focused on topics such as queerness, loss, alcoholism and white privilege. As it usually happens with poetry collections, there were some poems I loved and some poems I didn't really care much about. My favorite ones where definitely those that explored sexuality, growing up queer and coming out, and the ones about grief. They were very raw and a little heartbreaking and sometimes felt like a kick in the gut, but that's exactly what I'm 3.5 starsThis was such a lovely collection. It mainly focused on topics such as queerness, loss, alcoholism and white privilege. As it usually happens with poetry collections, there were some poems I loved and some poems I didn't really care much about. My favorite ones where definitely those that explored sexuality, growing up queer and coming out, and the ones about grief. They were very raw and a little heartbreaking and sometimes felt like a kick in the gut, but that's exactly what I'm always looking for in poetry, so they were perfect.I loved how the author managed to use very colloquial language without making the poems sound lazy; they all had a certain rythm to them and flowed very nicely. I overall really liked his style; so even though I didn't adore the collection as a whole, it was still enjoyable, and definitely worth the read, and I do think I'm gonna revisit some of the poems in the future, as well as keep an eye on the author.I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.
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  • Siobhán
    January 1, 1970
    *I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the free poetry collection*In this collection, Falkner discusses themes such as coming out as gay (bisexual maybe?), sexual awakening, suicide, family relations, white-guilt, and gender. I didn't like all of the poems, but some of them were well written, humbling, and intimate. Others were funny. For example "The Whitest Thing": Owning your own white guilt isn't cool / yet, so you stuff the soft parts of other kids' / *I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the free poetry collection*In this collection, Falkner discusses themes such as coming out as gay (bisexual maybe?), sexual awakening, suicide, family relations, white-guilt, and gender. I didn't like all of the poems, but some of them were well written, humbling, and intimate. Others were funny. For example "The Whitest Thing": Owning your own white guilt isn't cool / yet, so you stuff the soft parts of other kids' / cultures into your poeckets until you believe it is / not there. You are a matching sweat / suit jukebox stocked with everything / from Ice Cube to OutKast, entire albums / memorized and coiled in the dampf / of your mouth, gunfire into the fiar/ above the school parking lot --- and that / is as black as you think possible." (28)The poems are very honest, some sad, not all offer consolation even though some do. 3,5 stars
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  • Atiba
    January 1, 1970
    This is a great collection of introspection from within about place and identity in communities. From the familial struggles of a fraught and fragile father figure who is dealing and coping with his own struggles to the struggle of his son as he puts on armor to prepare for the battle of coming out only to life his visor and see it is still a battle but not to the level he expected. There is a strong poetic threads and seeds that relate to race, white privilege and white guilt. There is some This is a great collection of introspection from within about place and identity in communities. From the familial struggles of a fraught and fragile father figure who is dealing and coping with his own struggles to the struggle of his son as he puts on armor to prepare for the battle of coming out only to life his visor and see it is still a battle but not to the level he expected. There is a strong poetic threads and seeds that relate to race, white privilege and white guilt. There is some additional dissing out to do as it relates to actions and the mental/ societal complexes that grow out of the aforementioned seeds. This is more of a costar role in the overall book but a good one.
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  • Crystal
    January 1, 1970
    I'm honestly frustrated by this book. While I think it's extremely important that white people acknowledge race and cultural appropriation and I do applaud people taking the topic on it's difficult when the poems talking about this cultural appropriation have lines adapted from the rappers involved in the original appropriation as a young man loving rap and wanting to be Black. Using these lines to perform the speaker's understanding of Blackness doesn't give me much confidence especially I'm honestly frustrated by this book. While I think it's extremely important that white people acknowledge race and cultural appropriation and I do applaud people taking the topic on it's difficult when the poems talking about this cultural appropriation have lines adapted from the rappers involved in the original appropriation as a young man loving rap and wanting to be Black. Using these lines to perform the speaker's understanding of Blackness doesn't give me much confidence especially considering the stark difference in language in these poems and some of the other poems in this collection.
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  • Kathleen Quarfordt
    January 1, 1970
    Adam Falkners new book of poems The Willies explores overlapping and intersecting themes of queerness, race, privilege, alcoholism, and family relationships with raw, sometimes funny and always incisive storytelling. Braiding together multiple often contrasting versions of his experiences, he invites us to accompany him in an unflinching, kaleidoscopic examination of self. The work is searing, yet generous. Regardless of what biographical details we may or may not share with him, Falkner beckons Adam Falkner’s new book of poems The Willies explores overlapping and intersecting themes of queerness, race, privilege, alcoholism, and family relationships with raw, sometimes funny and always incisive storytelling. Braiding together multiple often contrasting versions of his experiences, he invites us to accompany him in an unflinching, kaleidoscopic examination of self. The work is searing, yet generous. Regardless of what biographical details we may or may not share with him, Falkner beckons us to look squarely and courageously into the multitudinous truths of our own lives.
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  • Adrienne Renee
    January 1, 1970
    Adam Falkner writes about race, addiction, white privilege, queerness, and what it means to un-become the terrible, problematic people we used to be based on what our small towns & suburbs have taught us & how to continue to grow up & out of it. There are parts of this book Im still processing, but (like a lot of poetry collections I read) I need to read it a few more times before my thoughts on it settle. Just as Adam mentioned in an interview in Them Magazine, I hope every queer Adam Falkner writes about race, addiction, white privilege, queerness, and what it means to un-become the terrible, problematic people we used to be based on what our small towns & suburbs have taught us & how to continue to grow up & out of it. There are parts of this book I’m still processing, but (like a lot of poetry collections I read) I need to read it a few more times before my thoughts on it settle. Just as Adam mentioned in an interview in Them Magazine, I hope every queer kid growing up in proximity to a corn field gets a chance to just be & read at least some of these poems.
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  • Maggie Fried
    January 1, 1970
    The Willies by Adam Falkner contains a number of poems which cover a variety of topics including alcoholism, growing up, coming out, race, love, and vulnerability. The poems were raw and full of feeling while also being easy to understand and relate to. I really enjoyed reading through these poems and could see myself returning to re-read some in the future. This was a quick but impactful read and I look forward to reading more by Adam Falkner. Like non-fiction, I don't always give star ratings The Willies by Adam Falkner contains a number of poems which cover a variety of topics including alcoholism, growing up, coming out, race, love, and vulnerability. The poems were raw and full of feeling while also being easy to understand and relate to. I really enjoyed reading through these poems and could see myself returning to re-read some in the future. This was a quick but impactful read and I look forward to reading more by Adam Falkner. Like non-fiction, I don't always give star ratings to poetry, as I feel their content is personal and not something for me to necessarily "rate".
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  • BooksAndRae
    January 1, 1970
    Falkner's poetry was so vivid and entrancing I felt myself unable to put the collection down. It's a work that opens up to an array of themes and subjects such as coming out, race, growing up and family relationships, I'll be looking out for this book in stores and recommending it to anyone I think would be interested. Thanks to NetGalley, Button Poetry and the author of this collection for the opportunity to read this arc in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kirsten never has enough time
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not much of a poetry reader. I'm aphantasic, which mean I don't really get anything from descriptive language, it takes me a long time to process it, and I don't really ~feel~ the vast majority of it. But I keep trying, because I think it's important to try and expand your horizons. I jammed with a good bit of the poetry in here, some of the themes... poetry I actually enjoyed, who'da thunk it.
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  • Arhm Wild
    January 1, 1970
    The Willies is the type of book you wish people would read over your shoulder on the subway to share in the medicine of its honesty. The fierce and generous vulnerability of these poems beckons our own stories to venture out in all their queer and growing pain glory and creates a guide to reckoning with the at-times dissonance of our privilege and desire. I cant wait to share these poems with the youth I work with. “The Willies” is the type of book you wish people would read over your shoulder on the subway to share in the medicine of its honesty. The fierce and generous vulnerability of these poems beckons our own stories to venture out in all their queer and growing pain glory and creates a guide to reckoning with the at-times dissonance of our privilege and desire. I can’t wait to share these poems with the youth I work with.
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  • Mandy Hazen
    January 1, 1970
    I cannot begin to understand or attempt to understand the struggles the author went through in their life. It is at points difficult to read, but well written. This is the story of a young mans life growing up with the struggles of people understand and coming to terms with him being gay, and the struggle he goes through To share this with those he loves. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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  • Chloe Natasha
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to love this, but I just couldn't connect to it in the way I hoped to. A couple of the poems resonated with me, and Falkner is wonderful with his words, but I can't say this was a memorable read. Worthwhile, to be sure, but sadly it wasn't for me!
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  • Steven S
    January 1, 1970
    This latest book by Adam Falkner is a true collection of authentic, raw, and deep poems. It speaks to multiple readers, but is a unique and powerful representation for the LGBTQ+ community
  • J.D. DeHart
    January 1, 1970
    Adam Falkner offers us a book that is beautiful, jarring, and speaks to valuable human experience. What more can you ask of a poet? There is much to consider and appreciate in this volume.
  • Alannah O'hagan
    January 1, 1970
    The vocabulary of the book is both poetic and colloquial and while the subject matter seems very personal to the authors experience I found it easy to relate to. The vocabulary of the book is both poetic and colloquial and while the subject matter seems very personal to the author’s experience I found it easy to relate to.
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  • Matt
    January 1, 1970
    The Willies is a collection of poetry by Adam Falkner, you may recognise his name and poetry from the Button Poetry YouTube channel. The text is split into three distinct sections, each dealing with an array of themes.The first section covers suicide, constrained relationships with his father, the pain of hiding your sexuality, and white privilege. For me, the most interesting moment was the dissection of white privilege and the understanding that, as a white person, he can consume culture and The Willies is a collection of poetry by Adam Falkner, you may recognise his name and poetry from the Button Poetry YouTube channel. The text is split into three distinct sections, each dealing with an array of themes.The first section covers suicide, constrained relationships with his father, the pain of hiding your sexuality, and white privilege. For me, the most interesting moment was the dissection of white privilege and the understanding that, as a white person, he can consume culture and has the power to either engage or retreat from it. He is not defined by what he engages with, whilst those within a particular culture are defined by it rather than who they are. Moving on, section two looks more broadly at loss, and builds upon the exploration of white privilege. In ‘If You Don’t Know’ there is a compelling moment which conveys what cultural appropriation is."youknow very well who you are: touristwalking circles in a city they did notbuild."- 'If You Don't Know', p. 45As we delve further into both this poem and the section, we see Falkner explore white guilt. He posits that if you situate yourself within black culture you can convince yourself that you are absolved from white guilt, but the reality is that it is a privilege that you can just step into a culture that is not your own. Section three again broaches the topic of loss, but also enters into acceptance. It is the reclamation of the life lost by queer people as we exist within a society designed to abhor us. To me, this section was the most empowering and emotional, but I would consider the prior section my favourite.Whilst I did enjoy the majority of the poems, the references to Chris Brown and Drake were disappointing. I can’t understand why you would opt to include men who have actively abused women and engaged with minors in unacceptable ways.
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  • Charles F.
    January 1, 1970
    Adam Falkner is a poet of rare sensitivity, honesty, and insight. Reading him is a joy, and even more, it is an invitation to a richer life of purpose and meaning.
  • April Harris
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed reading The Willies! I found it only chance while cruising through Netgalley's Read Now. Adam Falkner's poetry was raw and very relatable. He covered issues of alcoholism, coming out to family, political views, and founding one's self. This was such a refreshing read for me! I will most definitely buy a physical copy of this poetry book when it comes out.
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