Megan Fernandes is the author of Good Boys, and a finalist for the Kundiman Poetry Prize and the Paterson Poetry Prize. Her poems have been published in The New Yorker, Kenyon Review, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Common, and the Academy of American Poets, among others. An associate professor of English and the writer-in-residence at Lafayette College, Fernandes lives in New York City.
Megan Fernandes is one of my favorite poets because she does things on the page that I and most other poets can’t imagine. Her rhapsodic lineation, her liberated image and metaphor. All that wonder is on display in her new stunner I Do Everything I’m Told. The collection is, at its center, a book of love poems like all the best poetry collections are. The pretense of love, the past tense of love, and what we do when the little galaxies we build with others start to come apart. Fernandes navigates these spaces with the kind of slick wit and care that love poems require: awareness, eros, and utter abandon. Her first two collections showed us the possibilities for a different kind of poem. I Do Everything I’m Told shows us what poetry looks like in the aftermath.
—Adrian Matejka, author of Somebody Else Sold the World
Beautiful, provocative pleasures, these poems apply a sophisticated intelligence to the most vulnerable and insatiable yearnings. Fernandes degloves traditions of love poetry through her radically adventurous poetry, baring the muscle beneath the skin. Each poem, ungovernable and alive to the contemporary moment, carries forward an original and compelling vision. The result is a brilliant triumph—both poignant and bracing.
—Lee Upton, author of The Day Every Day Is
In I Do Everything I’m Told, we are embraced simultaneously by finality and ambiguity, rules made only to be broken, and in their tesserae lie a beauty that rejects its own existence while reflecting back our own. ‘Sometimes, I wonder if I would know a beautiful thing / if I saw it,’ Fernandes writes, making of wonder itself a journey beyond the veil where death, violence, and uncertainty herald revision, witness, and love. An incredible book!
—Phillip B. Williams, author of Mutiny
Good Boys is a firecracker book full of sharp, imaginative, heart-full poems about tarot, running in the suburbs, goats, cities, nuclear fallout, and bigger things like identity, family, race, and feminism. If Broad City and Carmen Maria Machado had a poetry baby, it would be Good Boys.
Good Boys speaks to our shared knowledge that things cannot go on as they are and yet, day by day, we are going on. Fernandes explores what it feels like to live a life organized by risk, the ordinary wagers and debts we make in our attachments to the people, places, and ideas that we love, our promises to ourselves and others: ‘The way we bet. What we gamble with.’ Being good is one way of managing risk. But it also allows us to ignore the ways in which our world is built on theft—the piracies of whiteness, a sense of entitlement to someone else’s body or someone else’s country. . . . The poems demonstrate an intelligent handling of form, disrupting convenient distinctions between the neatness of intellect and the chaos of feeling.
—Los Angeles Review of Books
Fernandes’s debut collection, The Kingdom and After (Tightrope Books, 2015), introduced us to her voice as both blunt truth-teller and measured verse-architect. In Good Boys, her new collection published last month from Tin House Books, she plunges back into family, relationships, and identity—then explores the lens itself through which she sees and thinks about her world. Her anger and agitation speak so clearly, so compellingly, that we find ourselves reading her poems on the edge of unease: What will happen next? Is this going to hurt? Will she soothe us? And she does, with great care and love.
This tremendous collection of poems centers feminism, racism, and rage in all its imperfections, contradictions and candor.
The poetry of Megan Fernandes gives me courage to get up another day and fight the patriarchy & racist nationalism. Her limitless imagination and beautiful, lyrical, powerful lines are worth fighting for. Everyone should give this book to someone they love, and everyone should love someone enough to give them this book.
—Brenda Shaughnessy, author of The Octopus Museum
If there is no ethical consumption under late capitalism, our job is to figure out how to move through this world while causing it the least harm. ‘I like when the choices are both ugly,’ Megan Fernandes writes in Good Boys, and then she shows us: rocks and hard places, guns and snowbanks, there and here. It’s a staggering text—ferocious, vulnerable, funny, ambitious, and deeply rigorous. What can a poet do for people, for a planet, literally dying of human greed? Fernandes answers: ‘I map / the storms // of the whole world.’
—Kaveh Akbar, author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf
‘What I learned from you is how/not to be a body,’ Megan Fernandes asserts in her evocatively beautiful collection Good Boys, musing in a later poem, ‘How some of us laugh while hunted.’ These are poems of haunting and hunting, of bodies that are remade in different cities, of family and its legacy, of immigration and what it takes from us. The collection traverses time and place, meditating on the ways love shatters and recreates us all, particularly when it intersects with being othered. Fernandes writes compellingly of the dislocation that comes with migration: ‘My daddy is not a thing like your daddy,’ she says. ‘Our house was not a thing like your house.’ Alike or not, this house of poems contains tremendous light.
—Hala Alyan, author of The Twenty-Ninth Year
Magnificent in its tumultuous yet savvy voicings, its pain transformed into cadence, its personal yet generous stagings of self.
—Rosanna Warren, author of So Forth