There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.