Review: There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker

March 12, 2018
There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, Morgan Parker
Published By: Tin House Books on February 14, 2017
Format Read: Paperback Edition (81 pages)
Genre: Poetry /Non-fiction /Race
Series: Stand alone
Source: Purchased
There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé
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.



I wanted to love this collection more than I did. I thought from the title Beyonce would be used as a launching pad to reference the problematic ways women exist in media. This isn't a rebuke of Beyonce which the title hints at. This book used Beyonce and other pop culture references, in a way that didn't resonate with me. I wasn't familiar with some of the references, but the ones I recognized didn't make sense in the context.

The poems centered around race and womanhood were thought provoking. However none of the language resonated with me in a emotional way. It's hard for me to pin point what I didn't enjoy in this poetry collection. The way people experience poetry is subjective and personal. So my opinion will certainly differ from other readers. The topics and stories told in these poems were important and reflective. We need more poets addressing issues of black womanhood. I enjoyed some of the poems but wished I was more drawn in and connected to others.

Recommended for Readers Who
-enjoy modern poetry
-appreciate thoughts on race and womanhood
-resonate with pop culture references


Morgan Parker is the author of Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night (Switchback Books 2015), selected by Eileen Myles for the 2013 Gatewood Prize. Her second collection, There Are More Beautiful things than Beyonce, is forthcoming from Tin House Books in February 2017. Morgan received her Bachelors in Anthropology and Creative Writing from Columbia University and her MFA in Poetry from NYU. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in numerous publications, as well as anthologized in Why I Am Not A Painter (Argos Books) and The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket Books). She has done editorial work for Apogee Journal, No, Dear Magazine, and The Atlas Review. Winner of a 2016 Pushcart Prize and a Cave Canem graduate fellow, Morgan lives with her dog Braeburn in Brooklyn, NY. She works as an Editor for Amazon Publishing's imprint Little A, and moonlights as poetry editor of The Offing. She also teaches Creative Writing at Columbia University and co-curates the Poets With Attitude (PWA) reading series with Tommy Pico. With poet and performer Angel Nafis, she is The Other Black Girl Collective. She is a Sagittarius.

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