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There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce (Paperback)
A TIME Magazine Best Paperback of 2017
One of Oprah Magazine's "Ten Best Books of 2017"
"This singular poetry collection is a dynamic meditation on the experience of, and societal narratives surrounding, contemporary black womanhood. . . . These exquisite poems defy categorization." —The New Yorker
The only thing more beautiful than Beyoncé is God, and God is a black woman sipping rosé and drawing a lavender bath, texting her mom, belly-laughing in the therapist’s office, feeling unloved, being on display, daring to survive. Morgan Parker stands at the intersections of vulnerability and performance, of desire and disgust, of tragedy and excellence. Unrelentingly feminist, tender, ruthless, and sequined, these poems are an altar to the complexities of black American womanhood in an age of non-indictments and deja vu, and a time of wars over bodies and power. These poems celebrate and mourn. They are a chorus chanting: You’re gonna give us the love we need.
About the Author
Morgan Parker is a poet, essayist, and novelist. She is the author of the young adult novel Who Put This Song On? and the poetry collections There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé and Magical Negro, which won the 2019 National Book Critics Circle Award. Parker’s debut book of nonfiction is forthcoming from One World. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, winner of a Pushcart Prize, and has been hailed by The New York Times as “a dynamic craftsperson” of “considerable consequence to American poetry.”
This singular poetry collection is a dynamic meditation on the experience of, and societal narratives surrounding, contemporary black womanhood. . . . Ranging from orderly couplets to an itemized list titled after Jay Z’s "99 Problems" to lines interrupted by gaping white space, these exquisite poems defy categorization.
— The New Yorker
Morgan Parker''s bombastic second book profoundly expresses a black millennial consciousness with anger and appetite. Everywhere Parker looks, she sees a wildly messed-up world — "There's far too many of me dying"; "The President be like/ we lost a young boy today." She also answers a personal and public mandate to re-envision it through humor and confrontation.
[A] brash, risqué collection that explores what it means to be a black woman in contemporary American culture. Parker, whose first book won the Gatewood Prize, is as self-assured as the women who appear in these pages, including Queen Latifah, Nikki Giovanni and Michelle Obama. Cultural references, old songs and classic poems spark observations about feminism, sex and desire at a time when “There’s far too many of me dying./ The present is not so different.” . . . Each woman in this fierce collection wants to be seen for who she is, not what society wants her to be, and each demands respect.
— The Washington Post
Parker’s poems brings heat to the art of Mickalene Thomas, the racial politics of Barack Obama’s presidency, the body politics of Beyoncé and the danger of moving through America in a black body.
— TIME Magazine, Best Paperbacks of 2017
Parker’s poetry is a sledgehammer covered in silk, exposing black women’s vulnerability and power and underscoring what it means to be magical and in pain. This collection is a must for anyone who recognizes that celebrity is an extension of American culture — and for those who don''t, it will transform their perspective.
Parker’s second collection . . . exquisitely examines American values, often summoning its celebrities—Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, Lou Reed—to illuminate society’s staggering shortcomings and the intricacies of black womanhood. . . . [T]hese poems are, without a doubt, Parker’s as she encapsulates vulnerability, feminism, and utter fearlessness in rhythmic, glittering verse.
Morgan Parker''s second book of poetry, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé (Tin House Books), isn't just the most ferocious collection to be published this year. It's also an antidote to the culture of hate and white supremacy . . . part psychic excavation, part historical exorcism. Having watched Nina Simone in concert on YouTube most of my adult life, I've finally found an experience to compare that to.
— Interview Magazine
Employing fierce language and eschewing fear of unflattering light, Parker (Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night) pays homage to the deep roots and collective wisdom of black womanhood. Parker’s poems are as flame-forged as a chain locked around soft ankles.
— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
[A] tremendous new collection.
— The Paris Review
Parker weaves together Marvin Gaye lyrics, texting slang, and a critical, caring perspective on black womanhood to createpoems that are both radically powerful and laugh-out-loud funny.
As unbelievable as you may find the title, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé proves that it is possible to create something greater than Queen Bey. Riddled with pop culture references aimed at exploring what it means to be a black American woman in modern times, this beautiful poetry collection probes the realms of American politics, national and family history, race, and gender with unflinching honesty. As soulful as it is timely, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé is a daring collection you''''ll want to bask in all year long.
— Most Anticipated Feminist Book Releases of 2017 - Bustle
These words, brilliant, lovely, and sharp like a diamond, cut me deeply and left me in awe of Parker’s writing. This book is an exciting contribution to the rich legacy of Black feminist art, literature, poetry, and music that daily adds more complex representations of Black American womanhood.
— Bitch Media
The first thing you have to understand is that Morgan Parker is one of the most fascinating poets working today. She writes poems that are clever, beautiful, political, playful, breathtaking. The second thing is that Beyoncé is one of the most potent icons in contemporary popular culture. Now imagine what happens when those two—poet and icon—meet in verse.
— Book Riot
For the person who doesn't need their poetry to be "pretty." For the person who needs their poetry to be powerful in its beauty, in its ability to eviscerate them, in its willingness to go places they never knew existed before. For the person who drinks words like others drink water.
— NYLON, Best Books of the Year
"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," writes Morgan Parker in the title poem of her new collection, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé. If that doesn't pique your interest/make you feel something/have you reexamining your negative attitude about poetry (get over it!), check yourself for a pulse.
— Portland Mercury
Morgan Parker turns Beyoncé and gin-soaked olives into electric poetry.
— Portland Monthly
Parker's bold, brilliant and biting poetry explores race, sex and womanhood in contemporary culture.
— Shelf Awareness
Easily one of the most compelling poetry collections of the past few years, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé is fresh, unexpected, and intimate; an equally devastating and uplifting exploration of black womanhood; and a tender and lovely celebration of life.
"Art hurts," wrote poet Gwendolyn Brooks. "Art urges voyages." Morgan Parker's poems hurt deeply and voyage widely. They do not let you sit comfortably and idly and safe, but take you on an adventure like no other. Like the "Fantastic Voyage" promised by R&B legends Lakeside, Parker's work is "live, live, all the way live." Get on board this trip; it is like no other.
— D.A. Powell
[Parker''''s] second collection of poetry is a series of raw, unflinching examinations of race and womanhood.
— Girlboss, "Five New Books That Will Make You a Better Feminist"
Outstanding collection of poems. So much soul. So much intelligence in how Parker folds in cultural references and the experiences of black womanhood. Every poem will get its hooks into you. And of course, the poems about Beyoncé are the greatest because Beyoncé is our queen.
— Roxane Gay
There are more beautiful things than Beyonce in these pages because, as Morgan Parker writes in poems channeling the president’s wife, the Venus Hottentot and multiple Beyonces, “we’re everyone. We have ideas and vaginas, history and clothes and a mother.” The kind of verve the late New York school Ted Berrigan would have called “feminine marvelous and tough” is here, as well as the kind of vulnerability that fortifies genuine daring. This is a marvelous book. See for yourself. Morgan Parker is a fearlessly forward and forward-thinking literary star.
— Terrance Hayes
I can and have read Morgan Parker''''s poems over and over . . . She writes
history and pleasure and kitsch and abstraction, then vanishes like a god in
about 13 inches.
— Eileen Myles
I love these poems by Morgan Parker. They tell everything exactly like it is, and they don''''t let us off the hook—about how we run this country, about race, about how we spend our time . . . They hit you with the authority and moral clarity of Langston Hughes, and have the omnivorous eye of Frank O''''Hara.
— Matthew Rohrer
Parker’s] poems are delightful in their playful ability to rake through our
contemporary moment in search of all manner of riches, just as they are
devastating in their ability to remind us of what we look like when nobody''''s
watching, and of what the many things we don''''t—or can''''t—say add up to.
— Tracy K. Smith