- Publication Date: February 14, 2017
- Poetry, non-fiction, feminism, race, cultural references, black American womanhood
- WARNING: This is a book of poems.
“There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé uses political and pop-cultural references as a framework to explore 21st century black American womanhood and its complexities: performance, depression, isolation, exoticism, racism, femininity, and politics. The poems weave between personal narrative and pop-cultural criticism, examining and confronting modern media, consumption, feminism, and Blackness. This collection explores femininity and race in the contemporary American political climate, folding in references from jazz standards, visual art, personal family history, and Hip Hop. The voice of this book is a multifarious one: writing and rewriting bodies, stories, and histories of the past, as well as uttering and bearing witness to the truth of the present, and actively probing toward a new self, an actualized self. This is a book at the intersections of mythology and sorrow, of vulnerability and posturing, of desire and disgust, of tragedy and excellence.”
Okay, let’s be honest. I first got interested in this book because of the title. What? There are more beautiful things than Beyoncé? What madness is this?!?! (Kidding. She’s great but there are other things out there.)
Anyway, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé is one of those books that while I was reading I kept nodding my head as line after line, page after page, I resonated with. Within each of the forty-one poems, Parker’s words reflected a lot of things that I have either felt or am feeling which is always reassuring to feel.
Parker doesn’t hold anything back. Her poems speak truth, whether positive or negative. Each poem talks about different realities that black women face in America in and out of their own community. Some deal with how black female bodies are portrayed in the media and some come off as more personal, inner thoughts captured into words. Admittedly, some poems I quickly read through, acknowledging truth behind the words but overall felt “meh” about, while other poems I read and read again and just mediated in them. My personal favorite was “Welcome to the Jungle” that had themes of the struggle between performance and authenticity.
“With champagne I try expired white ones
I mean pills I mean men
I think I’m going crazy sometimes really
you think I’m joking I’m never joking
All Men Have Been Created Equally
To Shiver At The Thought of Me”
– Morgan Parker, “Welcome to the Jungle”
Overall, reading a book of poems isn’t necessarily what I usually go for but I enjoyed Parker’s work and I’m definitely interested in reading more.
I received a copy of this book from the NetGalley and the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
This book is part of a reading challenge that I’ve decided to participate for the upcoming year, Der Vang’s 2017 Womxn of Color Reading Challenge. If you would like to learn more, participate, or see which books I’m doing/have done check it out here.
What do you all think? Have you read There Are More Beauti already? Have any other book suggestions that I should add to my Weekend Reading List? Leave your thoughts behind in the comments. Just be respectful please.