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Jill's APRIL Dotters Pick

As the sun sets on Poetry Month, I want to share this beautiful, evocative, funny, and sometimes-uncomfortable poetry collection by Morgan Parker.  I chose this book by chance -- much like selecting CDs from Best Buy in the 90s -- because I was drawn to the title and cover art.  As a die-hard Beyhive member, I recognize it was totally shallow of me to want this book only because it had anything to do with Beyoncé, and not because I knew anything about Morgan Parker, who, turns out, is completely mind-blowing.

Parker wrote these poems for an audience of black females with Beyoncé as a metaphor for Every Black Woman.  Also a Beyoncé lover, she looked at and listened closely to Beyoncé's music and iconic evolution while writing this collection over the last five years.  Many of the poems are Parker's narrative on her own depression, and though the book involves plenty of sadness and hard truths, Parker says in an interview with The Cut in February of 2017 that:

"it's a love letter....It's full of love for black women and everything they have been and are and will be and could be, and I want that to come across. I want them to have permission to be all of these things at once. I think so much of our existence is about rights and permission and agency being taken and taken away -- so much so, that we forget to take anything for ourselves. We forget that we're allowed to do that. I just want this to be a reminder that, look, you have permission to be as dope, as fly, as beautiful, as naked, as sad, as f*cked up as you want to be. I wanted it to be this invitation.”

She explores black female sexuality and objectification alongside humor, which she says "is a very, very, very black tool for [dealing with] suffering, and it's really gotten us through a hell of a lot." 

 

Here's an excerpt from Parker's eponymous poem: “Please Wait (Or, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé)” that struck me:

Please wait to record Love Jones at 8:48 Saturday on BET
Until your life is no longer defined by Beyoncé
Ants crawling over fallen leaves and little pieces of dog shit
Empty chicken boxes glowing with the remembrance of grease
There are more beautiful things than Beyoncé: self-awareness,
Leftover mascara in clumps, recognizing a pattern
This is for all the grown women out there
Whose countries hate them and their brothers
Who carry knives in their purses down the street
Maybe they will not get out alive
Maybe they will turn into air or news or brown flower petals
There are more beautiful things than Beyoncé:
Lavender, education, becoming other people,
The f*cking sky…


I am so grateful for having read these words and for the opportunity to read this point of view. I look forward to re-reading and sharing with friends.