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There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce…

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce

by Morgan Parker

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925189,174 (3.97)30



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Showing 5 of 5
Reading more poetry has very much changed how my brain thinks. The rhythm and meter of Parker is like song and the bass line of an amazing track. I don't know, poetry like this is transformative even if it's cliche to say so. ( )
  jeninmotion | Sep 24, 2018 |
Ahhhhh this was so amazingly good!!

This is what poetry is meant to do! The intensity and consistency of the voice throughout this collection is absolutely compelling. Parker grapples with being a black woman in the United States in poems that range from odes to Xanax to imagining Beyonce as a white woman and all the poems coalesce into a reading experience.

Poetry is an experience. It has to be. The immediacy of poetry, the way narrative is stripped to its essence makes poetry more active than any other form of writing and Parker seizes that immediacy with an absolute mastery. I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks poetry isn't exciting or necessary. Parker shows again and again how poetry is incredibly relevant to telling stories and featuring voices that have, for far too long, been ignored. ( )
  ElleGato | Sep 24, 2018 |
i am not going to rate this because it was largely over my head, but that's not the book's (or the author's) fault. i live under a rock - or a book - and the vast pop-culture references here all escape me. (except the one reference to slouching toward bethlehem, but i haven't read it, or hardly any didion, so even though i recognized the inference, i didn't know what she meant by it; and of course i see her referring to beyonce again and again but i also don't know what she means then.) the syntax and word flow of most of the poems threw me off as well as the lack of punctuation, and i found that basically i have no idea what any of them mean or what she is saying at all. the one i liked the best is the only one that i understood at all, i guess because i could catch some of the religious references - the gospel of jesus's wife. i also like these lines from the president's wife: "Is loneliness cultural" and "Is a mother still a self" even as i don't really get the poem. so i give myself a half star for not being able to read this book well, but won't rate the book since it's not her fault i have no basis of understanding pop culture, and i'm white while she's writing about the black experience. i will say, though, that i suspect that many of these poems won't hold up over time because they're so steeped in current events and references that they might only resonate in the now, if they resonate at all.
  elisa.saphier | May 5, 2018 |
This one was not my cup of tea at all and generally speaking most of my book group did not seem to be impressed. Apparently the audio book was good because of intonation. I knew from the samples I wasn't going to want to actually add this to my collection so borrowed it from public library and I had a hard time completing my reading. After the book group discussion I think I may be slightly unfair and plan on listening to audio book. However my initial impression was it was too full of cultural references and would not stand the test of time. Being old as dirt I did get the reference to 13 ways of looking at a blackbird in title of her poem 13 ways of looking at a black girl so there is that ( )
  elka.b | Jan 27, 2018 |
"It’s mostly about machine tits"

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley.)

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 fucking sky

("Please Wait (Or, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé)")

I don't read a ton of poetry, since it mostly tends to go over my head. There are the rare exceptions, of course: stories written in verse, and the occasional feminist title; see, e.g. The Princess Saves Herself in this One. But mostly I shy away from it, since it makes me feel ... not the sharpest tool in the shed.

That said, between the title and the cover, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé proved pretty much impossible to pass up. While I'm sure I missed out on many of the cultural references - I'm white, and this is a collection of poetry about black womanhood - and didn't pick up all the varied and more veiled messages that Parker was putting down, I enjoyed it all the same. I read it cover-to-cover three times in two days, and with each successive reading, discovered something new. Parker's poetry sparkles and shines and cuts more deeply, the more time you spend with it.

It's hard to play favorites, since each piece has at least one or two especially memorable lines. (To wit: "At school they learned that Black people happened.") But among the poems that really stood out to me are Hottentot Venus; Beyoncé On The Line for Gaga; Afro; These Are Dangerous Times, Man; RoboBeyoncé; 13 Ways of Looking at a Black Girl; The Gospel According to Her; The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife; White Beyoncé; What Beyoncé Won’t Say on a Shrink’s Couch; It’s Getting Hot In Here So Take Off All Your Clothes; The Book of Revelation; 99 Problems; and the titular Please Wait (Or, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé).

There are forty-two poems total, twenty-five of which have previously been published elsewhere. For those keeping count at home, thirteen have Beyoncé in the title. The Beyoncé/Lady Gaga mashups are fun, if only because I enjoy imagining them hanging together - or swapping bodies in a Freaky Friday twist.

I feel like I should say more but idk how to read poetry, let alone review it. There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé is a fierce, funny, and subversive collection of poetry. You don't need to be a member of the Bey Hive to love it (but it sure doesn't hurt). It's earned a permanent spot on my Kindle so I can return to it as needed over the next four to eight (please dog no) years.


Table of Contents

The President Has Never Said the Word Black
Hottentot Venus
Another Another Autumn in New York
Poem on Beyoncé’s Birthday
Lush Life
Beyoncé on the Line for Gaga
We Don’t Know When We Were Opened (Or, The Origin of the Universe)
My Vinyl Weighs a Ton
Beyoncé is Sorry for What She Won’t Feel
These Are Dangerous Times, Man
Rebirth of Slick
Delicate and Jumpy
Freaky Friday Starring Beyoncé and Lady Gaga
13 Ways of Looking at a Black Girl
The Book of Negroes
The Gospel According to Her
Black Woman With Chicken
The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife
White Beyoncé
The President’s Wife
Welcome to the Jungle
Beyoncé, Touring in Asia, Breaks Down in a White Tee
What Beyoncé Won’t Say on a Shrink’s Couch
Ain’t Misbehavin’
Untitled While Listening to Drake
Beyoncé in Third Person
Heaven Be a Xanax
Beyoncé Celebrates Black History Month
Earth Wind & Fire Reunion Tour 2013
It’s Getting Hot In Here So Take Off All Your Clothes
Take a Walk on the Wild Side
The Book of Revelation
99 Problems
Slouching Toward Beyoncé
Let Me Handle My Business, Damn
Beyoncé Prepares a Will
Please Wait (Or, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé)
Funeral for the Black Dog
So What

http://www.easyvegan.info/2017/02/13/there-are-more-beautiful-things-than-beyonc... ( )
  smiteme | Dec 16, 2016 |
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"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"--Publisher.… (more)

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