It was the title that interested me about this book, though it appears there may be hundreds of books with this title or slight variants of it so it’s entirely possible it reminded me of some other work I heard about in the past. Most of the poems here didn’t draw me in very far, but the title poem was worth it for me....more
I am more comfortable
being mourned than loved.
The past has not been as rewarding
as I had hoped.
Waiting nearly four months to write about a book makes it nearly impossible to write anything substantive. I remember that there weren’t any complete poems...more
A collection of love poems from across Nikki Giovanni’s career that encompass contexts of love beyond the romantic variety — the book is dedicated to Tupac Shakur and the poem “All Eyez On U” mourns “a beautiful boy to lose,” connecting his inﬂuence and loss to Emmett Till and Martin Luther King, Jr. There is no lack of more...more
Borders are set up to deﬁne the places that are safe and unsafe, to distinguish us from them. A border is a dividing line, a narrow strip along a steep edge. A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. It is in a constant state of transition. The prohibited and...more
Very topical poems on the immigrant experience. Javier Zamora is from El Salvador, and his parents left for the US when he was very young and he followed when he was 9 years old. He writes from the perspective of his parents and other people in his family on the savagery of civil war and the ordeals people like his...more
The title of this book refers to furry skin on the antlers of young deer, which most shed as the antlers ﬁnish calcifying. The titular poem mentions some whitetails that don’t shed their velvet, described by hunters as “raggedy-horn freaks” who live “long solitary lives, unweathered / by the rutting season.”
Apparently I’m having a moment of reading contemporary poems by gay men.* They’ve all been great, but this is probably my fave of the bunch by just a little bit. As a collection, it feels so cohesive with poems about being a black man, a gay man, HIV-positive, and the intersections between them. Favorites...more
Most of this collection feels playful and cheeky, yet there is a mournful undercurrent, from the poems with some form of “elegy” in their titles, references to the sickness of Chen Chen’s mother and her unrealized expectations of him, and even his consideration of a friend’s comment, “…All you write about / is being gay or...more