Morgan Parker

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.”

Praise

  • Joyous, ironic, biting, knowing—Parker’s sublime poetry encapsulates and reflects our era.

    —Oprah Daily

  • [Parker’s] writing crackles with caustic humor and wrenching insight. You know from jump that she’s going places.

    —BuzzFeed

  • Phenomenal.

    —Ms. Magazine

  • Stellar.

    —Glamour

  • A poetic superstar.

    —Publishers Weekly

  • Captivating.

    —ALTA

  • What this re-release shows, more than anything, is that Parker has
    always possessed an uncanny ability to intermingle philosophy and lyric. . . . trust me, this is a collection you will want to spend time with.

    —The Poetry Question

  • I can and have read Morgan Parker’s poems over and over. They make me high and think like this: Her mind and her thoughts can go anywhere in a poem. . . . There are piles of masterpieces here.

    —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. . . . They hit you with the authority and moral clarity of Langston Hughes, and have the omnivorous eye of Frank O’Hara.

    —Matthew Rohrer

  • The introduction to everything we love about Morgan Parker’s work.

    —The Root

  • Parker’s work is a refreshing departure from a medium usually dominated by white culture and standards of worth. Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night is a collection well worth championing.

    —Broad Street Review

  • Morgan Parker’s latest collection is a riveting testimony to everyday blackness . . . It is wry and atmospheric, an epic work of aural pleasures and personifications that demands to be read—both as an account of a private life and as searing political protest.

    —TIME

  • 2019 justly belongs to Morgan Parker. Her poems shred me with their intelligence, dark humor and black-hearted vision. Parker is one of this generation’s best minds, able to hold herself and her world, which includes all of us, up to impossible lights, revealing every last bit of our hopes, failings, possibilities and raptures.

    —T Magazine

  • This collection further evidences Morgan Parker’s considerable consequence in American poetry.

    —The New York Times

  • Morgan Parker continues to fearlessly explore what it means to be a black woman in the United States today. . . . Bold and edgy, the writing spotlights the strength and tenacity that enable the speaker to survive grief and inequity. It also gives voice to her disappointments and delights as she claims—and proclaims—agency over her body and her life.

    —The Washington Post

  • From dating white boys to imagining what Diana Ross was thinking in that famous photo where she licks her fingers after eating a pair of ribs, Parker’s second poetry collection runs the gamut. But each poem is written with her signature wry humor and caustic honesty.

    —BuzzFeed

  • Morgan Parker’s poetry is vital, in both senses of the word. Her most recent collection, There Are Things More Beautiful Than Beyoncé, was an absolute knockout—a breathtaking exploration of black womanhood, culture both pop and past, bodies, minds. Poetry’s defenders need not answer those who would sing its dirges, but if they did, Parker’s work could serve as an indisputable response.

    —Literary Hub

  • Told with Parker’s signature lyricism and humor; her poems have the ability to soothe and to incite, she nimbly creates spaces for you to rest while reading, and let the power of her words and message sink into you like a heavy stone into water, or a hot knife through butter. It’s nothing short of triumphant.

    —NYLON

  • Parker’s voice is surprising, ranging from elegiac to conspiratorial to ecstatic; she interrogates both blackness and femininity like ports in a long personal journey, as places to land but also as points of departure.

    —Vogue

  • Fierce, playful and political, Parker’s poems celebrate the everyday just as they face off ancestral hurt. . . . Holding history and the contemporary to account, Magical Negro meets prejudice with an unwavering eye.

    —The Guardian

  • Gives language to the seemingly unspeakable demanding no solution.

    —Oprah Daily

  • Parker’s poetry seamlessly intertwines moments of intimate introspection, euphoria, desire, and sorrow with reflections on the psychological and spiritual legacy of Black America.

    —Broadly

  • Parker’s poetry is lyrical, humorous and bold. She holds nothing back in this collection, and the reader never asks her to.

    —Marie Claire

  • As witnessed in this third collection, blackness cannot be confined to a simple definition. Parker writes of the black experience not as an antidote or opposite to whiteness, but a culture and community where irreplicable nuances are created in spite of, not because of, pain and trauma.

    —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

  • It’s a cliché to call a work of art a conversation starter, but this book is. One could spend hours discussing not only the whole collection, but each individual poem. . . . Dizzyingly interdisciplinary . . . A book that delights and astonishes even as it interrogates.

    —The Los Angeles Review of Books

  • A searing indictment, an irreverent lampoon, and a desperately urgent work of poetry, to be read alongside the work of Eve L. Ewing, Tiana Clark, and Nicole Sealey.

    —Booklist

  • If you’re anxious for your snug perspective to be rattled and ripped asunder, for the predictable landscape you stroll to become all but unrecognizable, for things you thought you knew to slap you into another consciousness—brethren, have I got the book for you. Bey’s bestie continues her reign with this restless, fierce, and insanely inventive way of walking through the world. Once again, children—ignore Ms. Parker at your peril.

    —Patricia Smith

  • Magical Negro is unsettlingly new: a book that incisively explores states of black womanhood with astonishing buoyancy and grief. I can’t stop thinking about the songs it sings, songs that feel inevitable and yet unvoiced, complex and yet urgent; poems that are steeped in pop culture and the here-and-now of actual life while also being refracted through the darkest lens of American history. To read it is to wonder what each poem will do next, and to be reminded, over and over, of Parker’s extraordinary lyric gifts.

    —Meghan O'Rourke

  • 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

  • “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

  • 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

  • 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

  • [Morgan
    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

  • 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

  • What about modern womanhood isn’t explored in Morgan Parker’s poetry collection, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, out in February 2017? The easy answer: nothing. Filled with politics, pop culture, and personal poetry this collection challenges the status quo — critiquing the modern media, current politics, and the patriarchy, and challenging racism, sexism, and the ideas/products/entertainment we choose to consume both individually and as a society. Parker’s writing is soulful and in-your-face, and is exactly the best of what modern poets have to offer their readers.

    —Bustle