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In Full Velvet

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  172 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Sinuous and sensual, the poems of In Full Velvet interrogate the nuances of desire, love, gender, ecology, LGBTQ lineage and community, and the tension between a body’s material limits and the forms made possible by the imagination. Characterized by formal poise, vulnerability, and compassion, Johnson's debut collection is one of resounding generosity and grace.

Jenny Johns
Hardcover, 68 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by Sarabande Books
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  172 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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May 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Honestly, I wanted to like these poems more than I actually did.
Laura I.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful book -- the publisher/imprint is apparently all about making high-quality books, and it's true, the paper is thick and lovely and the cover is soft and beautiful. The poems inside are also pretty wonderful. A little too nature-y for me, because I'm a garbage city slicker, but still lovely. ...more
Jonathan Tennis
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Read about this poet in a recent article in Poets & Writers. Was excited to read more but the collection just didn’t work for me. For me, it’s worth reading even if it didn’t work for me as there’s almost always a few that are enjoyable and some great lines hidden in there. Poems I enjoyed: Souvenirs, Spaces, Victory.

“I like to study / not her features exactly, / but all her small perfect shadows. / Her sleeves like swallow’s wings, / the oblong ring she casts / moving down a slide, / some late
Katie Jo
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
Mostly when I read poetry, I remember that I don’t really like it. This was no exception, but it was pretty and there were a couple (Little Apophat, Fish Out Of Water) that I genuinely liked. I’m just biased because it’s not a style of writing I typically enjoy and I really only read it because of its queer themes.
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the many impressive things about this Jenny Johnson is the structure and organization of the poems in relation to each other here. It's a bit of an underrated aspect of writing a poetry collection, being able to order the poems so that they can flow or even tell a narrative (and doing so without it being so obvious that it's blunt trauma by verse). In In Full Velvet , Johnson opens with a series of poems abound with natural imagery and specifically various fauna, yet you don't get the vi ...more
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, poetry
Poetry has always been difficult for me - I love it but it's almost never quite what I want it to be. I was lucky enough to be brought to see Jenny Johnson by my boyfriend last weekend at the Word Barn in southern NH, and was blown away by her - performance? sharing? giving? - of her work to us. It was shattering, it was skipping, it was sneaking, and just at any moment when I thought "this poem is not for me" she would use a word, turn a phrase, drop her voice, lilt it up - and it was the perfe ...more
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Where there is
no lineage, no record,
no quantifiable
proof, there are
myths, and where
there are no myths,
there are traces:

In this collection, Jenny Johnson follows Monique Wittig's instruction to "[m]ake an effort to remember. Or, failing that, invent.” Johnson follows the trails of history and nature to locate queer ancestors. She invents worlds where every body is possible and where queer resistance outshines hate. And when there are only traces, she sifts through the euphemisms to reveal what
Nancy Zigler
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've always had trouble reading poetry. I go to it when I realize I need to work harder on my fiction writing, on delivering at a sentence, word, even syllabic level--and usually I end more frustrated than where I started. Now, I can't claim to understand every line of this work, but the writing necessitated my desire to crack it open like a Faberge egg. It has so much love, and rubs so gingerly against nature and our role in it as people, especially when you feel like an outlier/outsider. I'll ...more
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I always feel that I’m missing something when I read poetry...that maybe I’m not quite smart enough to get it. I did enjoy how it felt to read these poems. The language is beautiful and the poems felt very personal/intimate. I most identified with Souvenirs, having more than my share of them.
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a really neat book. The cover feels like velvet. The print is nice. It's published by Sarabande Books in Louisville, KY, a company that seems to care about making a quality product, and the poems aren't bad either. ...more
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, queer
I loved the language more than any specific line(s) or
Jo Reyes-Boitel
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
There are some amazing poems in this collection. I appreciate when the author’s disjointed imagery is linked but felt that some pieces could benefit for lengthening.
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Genius wow
a Word alchemist
2017 Best Debut Poetry
Might be the Best Poetry Book of 2017
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
So far, I'll place it 4th behind (in no particular order) Kaveh, sam, and William. I'm referencing this list:
Tallon Kennedy
Elegy at Twice the Speed of Sound has immediately become one of my favorite poems of all-time.
"A boom, my dear,
A boom."

Apr 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
first half was a 2.5 second was a 4. I love a hardcover poetry collection though! Sarabande has brilliant designers.
Feb 23, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Honestly, I wanted to like these poems more than I actually did.
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sumptuous and lovely poems about longing and love.
Alie Gauslow
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved it. I finished it in one sitting during my flight today. Super gay. Need more queer poetry in the world like this.
Bri Esposito
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
As I reveled in the experience of this lovely book, I snagged heart on so many lines. Glad to have this one on my shelves.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
The title of this book refers to furry skin on the antlers of young deer, which most shed as the antlers finish calcifying. The titular poem mentions some whitetails that don’t shed their velvet, seen by hunters as “raggedy-horn freaks” who live “long solitary lives, unweathered / by the rutting season.

There are moments in this collection that felt too florid for my taste; I appreciated the more everyday, banal poems — about going to the barbershop and not getting gay married. But I enjoy the ani
Lisa Hiton
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of 2017's best debut books, without a doubt. Johnson's poems weave between poetic formality and cultural colloquialism with deft grace. A book we all need. ...more
Danica Novgorodoff
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is gorgeous. Highly recommended.
rated it it was ok
Jul 24, 2018
Amelia Speight
rated it really liked it
Nov 26, 2020
rated it really liked it
Feb 22, 2021
rated it it was amazing
May 22, 2020
Danielle Barnhart
rated it it was amazing
Dec 21, 2020
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