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The Beautiful: Collected Poems
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The Beautiful: Collected Poems

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  338 ratings  ·  31 reviews
“Tea writes with a raw-hearted, wry but wide-eyed ebullience, rendering dyke bohemia with intense, gritty, glittering romanticism.”—The San Francisco Bay Guardian

Before penning her contemporary classic Valencia, Tea wrote wonderfully honest narrative poems, which she self-published in small editions, now collected here for the first time. A San Francisco Chronicle Best Boo
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published December 1st 2003 by Manic D Press, Inc.
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They Won't Shut Up by Cindy J.  SmithMeeting With Christ and Other Poems by Deepak ChaswalVoices In My Head by Cindy J.  SmithFrom Where I Stand by Robert   ZimmermannA World of Verse by Christopher  Shields
Best Collection of Poems by Living Authors
21st out of 351 books — 385 voters
The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotAriel by Sylvia Plath
Best Poetry Books
188th out of 1,528 books — 1,676 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 693)
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Jesse
It's a difficult thing to go read to an author's earliest work when you're otherwise familiar with her entire catalogue, particularly the most recent stuff (I've actually taught the estimable Rose of No Man's Land twice). The temptation to compare is high, even if that isn't fair-- Tea wrote the earliest poems in this volume when she was 22, whereas her most recent work is the product of someone in her mid-30s, I guess? Anyway, these are very much the poems of someone in her mid-20s. They remind ...more
Andrea
this is my favorite book by michelle tea, although i have a special place for her in my reading heart. this collection of her poetry is the best presentation of her unique style. she flows from idea to image, taking you through her own pain and interesting life experieinces. raw and gritty in places, these poems are very personal. if you like traditional poetry, this is not for you. best read in a contemplative (possibly grey) mood. alone.
Jennifer
My love affair with Michelle Tea continues. To be sure, not all of these poems are brilliant. Some are not much more impressive than my own college years' scribblings. But every now and again there are flashes that strike me to the core. And like reading her memoirs, it's a glimpse at a life I could never lead, might otherwise never witness.

I struggled for ages to come up with a cute little digestible bite that I could post here and not hide behind a cut tag, something that would make enough se
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Kelly
I found Michelle Tea by randomly googling for queer poetry. After reading snippets of her book, I knew I had to order it. I am not disappointed. I ordered two copies, one to give to a friend, that is how amazing it is. Everyone needs this book in their life.
Kimber
My favorite book from my freshman year of college. I finally purchased it after checking it out from the library a million times.

Borrow it from me.
Jules Vilmur
best line, at the end of a wistful what-might-have-been poem: "you are right where you should be / now act like it"
Kathleen
perfect for feeling wacked out, homesick and working shitty jobs too much.
James Watt
'It was some guy asking me to read pornographic poetry at a performance but I don't write like that, my writing is waiting for something that already happened, pulling it back, over and over, impossible.
Bri
Michelle Tea writes conversational poetry that feels very familiar, like you're talking with a friend about life, love, and ideas, and then those moments when it turns from mundane caring words to crystallized meanings, where words are clever and clear and convey in beautiful ways what you've tried to say so many times before. Some of them are much better than others, but I liked moving through this book piecemeal, considering a couple poems at a time.

Some favorites:
If You Leave a Woman Flowers,
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Carissa
g up in working class Chelsea Massachusetts and eventually Provincetown, Tucson, and San Francisco.

She first gained notable success not as an author but as a poet, in San Francisco's then-popular poetry scene of the early 1990's. She organized tirelessly with other self-identified queer poets and gained some local notoriety with her own spoken word performances and chapbooks sold in coffeehouses, bars and bookstore of San Franscisco for next to nothing.

She is also credited with the founding of S
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Drianne
I really like Michelle Tea's poetry, so I was glad to finally read through this collection. My favorite remains "I Used To Be Straight."
Kate
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
I fall in love with these poems over and over again.

Her style of writing can be a little...I want to say disjointed, but that's not right. I like disjointed. Lacking in follow-through, maybe.
And sometimes the tropes she picks don't strike me.
But that's the way of poetry. You aren't going to strike soul every time. But when she does? Damn, she can knock you right off your feet.
Tasche de la Rocha
Jun 04, 2008 Tasche de la Rocha rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All females
I truly love this book. It must be up in my favorites right now. It was dark and charming. She speaks so clearly. I feel as though I went through all that she did just by reading her fantastic writing. It was worth while. I loved every second of it and still sometimes open it up and suck it dry once again.
Dylan
One of my coworkers loaned this to me to read during short breaks throughout the day. I’m not incredibly interested in poetry, so I was surprised when I realized how much I was enjoying it. There were certain lines that were so raw and powerful that I would read them over and over again.
Shannon
Never has quasi-love-angst poetry been so elegantly pulled off.. while simultaneously being "raw". This is kind of like "Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist", but in poetry form.. and more.. beautiful. And less lolfunny. Though it is clever. Also... I think I want to marry Michelle Tea.
emm
These poems were great. They were as gritty and tough as pavement and they all drip with the essence of the early nineties on the west coast... Some of my favorite poems are 'This does'nt happen often','Emotional masochism or new age message from beyond?'and 'Lovesad'
willow
Michelle Tea tells it like it is.
I love her disgruntled love voice:
" take what you need
and shit the rest
flush
was i just a burger or something?"
Vivid poems about her take on life, the streets of San Francisco and shamans and sluts who live there.
rachel
Tea has a very down-to-earth way of writing. Her poems are very gritty and beautiful all at the same time. There's often a bit of humor thrown in as well (like her poem crabs are no big deal), even when they're heartbreaking... I love them.
Cat
my favorite volumbe of poetry. it's modern and raw. michelle tea does a great job of slapping you in the face with often vulgar but original metaphors and similies. theres always a mental image and often i find that these images are brilliant.
Grace
A really interesting collection, i enjoy her style although sometimes she does carry on a bit too long, getting lost on a tangent or going somewhere completely different. I think suicide poem might be my favourite.
Alisa Raymond
I carry this book around with me like its my bible. and really it is. This woman's words are amazing. My copy is highlighted with all the verses i love and wish i could have thought of. This woman is poetic genius
Dave
Jul 16, 2008 Dave rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 1) lesbians 2) everybody else
Shelves: potree
Wry,raw and real poetry. I bet these poems sound awesome performed aloud.
Tea writes from a queer perspective, a woman's perspective, a human perspective. If you've got a brain and a heart, this collection is for you.
Prairie
Lawwwd, Michelle. Be my mommy.
But seriously. These poems are raw and real and amazing. Full of passion and truth and, dammit, I just love that she feels no need to use proper caps, because WHY? Exactly.
Bob


There were two poems I really liked. One about abortion doctors and one about cops. Most of the others were okay. The quality of the poems did seem to evolve throughout the book.
N.
I'd give it four stars if it weren't for the well-meaning but embarrassing ignorant white girl racial politics that crop up in two poems. Otherwise I really loved this book.
Tina Edwards
This isn't my favorite book of hers but I did enjoy reading it a lot and found it a bit inspirational as far making me want to write.
Matt
Reading Michelle Tea makes me want to start going to the 500 Club at 6AM. Again.
Sarah Hackley
Hit and miss, but the ones that work do so with astonishing honesty.
Stephanie
This is my favorite book of poetry. It is amazing!!
Lauren
If you haven't discovered Michelle Tea yet, now is the time
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Michelle Tea (born Michelle Tomasik) is an American author, poet, and literary arts organizer whose autobiographical works explore queer culture, feminism, race, class, prostitution, and other topics. She is originally from Chelsea, Massachusetts and currently lives in San Francisco. Her books, mostly memoirs, are known for their views into the queercore community. In 2012 Tea partnered with City ...more
More about Michelle Tea...
Valencia Rent Girl Rose of No Man's Land The Chelsea Whistle Without a Net: The Female Experience of Growing Up Working Class

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“you are right where you should be / now act like it” 33 likes
“i was really into communal living and we were all /
such free spirits, crossing the country we were /
nomads and artists and no one ever stopped / to think about how the one working class housemate / was whoring to support a gang of upper middle class / deadheads with trust fund safety nets and connecticut / childhoods, everyone was too busy processing their isms / to deal with non-issues like class....and it’s just so cool / how none of them have hang-ups about / sex work they’re all real / open-minded real / revolutionary you know / the legal definition of pimp is / one who lives off the earnings of / a prostitute, one or five or / eight and i’d love to stay and / eat some of the stir fry i’ve been cooking / for y’all but i’ve got to go fuck / this guy so we can all get stoned and / go for smoothies tomorrow, save me / some rice, ok?”
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