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New American Best Friend

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  3,337 ratings  ·  346 reviews
One of the most recognizable young poets in America, Olivia Gatwood dazzles with her tribute to contemporary American womanhood in her debut book, New American Best Friend. Gatwood's poems deftly deconstruct traditional stereotypes. The focus shifts from childhood to adulthood, gender to sexuality, violence to joy. And always and inexorably, the book moves toward celebrati ...more
Paperback, 55 pages
Published March 28th 2017 by Button Poetry
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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 ·  3,337 ratings  ·  346 reviews

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Bree Hill
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Life comes fast. One minute you're taking typing classes for your new secretary job in the World Trade Center and the next it's all almost over, life I mean, but I kicked and screamed my way through it, and so will you." This is small piece from the very last poem in New American Best Friend called "Ode To The Women On Long Island." This small quote from the poem in my opinion summarizes up this entire collection of poetry.

Olivia Gatwood paints such a descriptive and vivid portrait of adolescen
Amelia's Fantastical Bookends
I picked up this book because I saw one of Gatwood's readings of her poem "Ode to the Women on Long Island," and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So, being me, I decided to actually pick up her other works, realizing that maybe, just maybe, I had found a contemporary poet that I liked.

And I was very wrong.

This.... this is not poetry, or at least it doesn't seem like that to me. The same issues that other people had with Rupi Kaur's "Milk in Honey" in how it seemed to "try to hard" and was just a couple
A. Blumer
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I saw this one in the GR Awards for a Poetry nomination, and a good friend happened to have given me this book a while ago. It was still on my Unread pile so I was like "what the heck?" It was just a little book.

It was more than just a little book. It was growing up with blood seeping through your teeth. It was falling in love while watching them die horribly. It was looking at trash trampled by the everyday commute and finding a way to dine on it by candle light.

I wish I could've voted for this
João Calafate
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing poetry.
Some of it I read, some of it my girlfriend read to me, and another bit I listened to Olivia Gatwood's performances in Button Poetry. It was perfect in every way. Every person, female or male or in between, should read this.
Angélique Alexis Davis
this is one of the best poetry books i've read in a while. one of the few i've read where i'm actually invested in what the poet is saying instead of feeling like i'm staring and turning the pages. ...more
Norah Una Sumner
Definitely a poetry book full of powerful messages and important themes but it just wasn't for me. Like her mother, I believe, said in one of the poems, this doesn't seem "unfazed" but rather "very fazed" to me. ...more
Leah Harter
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hello everyone, today I am writing about a book that is a little bit different. Normally, I only talk about fiction on here, but there will probably be more poetry in the near future. I will admit that going into this I was already a little bit biased. I have watched Olivia Gatwood’s slam poems countless times. I was ecstatic when I learned of her book and I am extremely biased. With that being said, I highly recommend reading this book.

My Rating: A

Poems: This book includes some of my favorites
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Olivia Gatwood is everything I like about poetry. I have been a huge fan of her poetry from YouTube videos. Her delivery and performance is absolutely amazing. I was worried that a reading her poetry on paper wouldn't be as good as seeing it performed. I wonder if I would have enjoyed her poetry as much without seeing her perform. But either way I really enjoyed New American Best Friend.

Olivia Gatwood has one of the best voices I have ever read in poetry. Olivia Gatwood is super intelligent, fu
Alyssia Cooke
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
I heard one of her poems and was impressed. I bought the book. I was less impressed. This didn't strike me as clever or witty. There were a few moments that caught me, but overall my impression was one of bored disappointment. Much of it isn't poetry as much as it is random short sentences stuck together with little rhythm or effort.

The tone of the poems left me cold; I find little interest in periods, panties, lipstick and tampons in honesty. I don't find my own interesting to write about and I
Brandon Forsyth
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I can't think of a better review of this than Carrie Fountain's, which is blurbed on the back of the book: "these poems are the future." The last time a book hit me this hard was Melissa Broder's SO SAD TODAY, and I think the two of those books are truly exciting in the way they carve out space for women to speak about their experiences with sexuality. I really wish this had been called something more evocative though, like "Ode To My Bitch Face", which speaks better to the raw, visceral quality ...more
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gatwood is real and raw and unafraid to address the uncomfortable. Her introspection into coming of age has something in it for everyone. She has a voice that is all her own, even when that voice doesn't quite know who it is. You may just find yourself coming to appreciate the world around you and things you hadn't before in a new light after having briefly glimpsed the world through her lens. ...more
Amanda Van Parys
Okay, I'm not a fan of poetry, like, at all but Olivia Gatwood's poetry is fundamentally badass and please read it. You'll see why when you do.

Read for the 2018 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: A one-sitting book
Rowan Bradley
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I'm consistently amazed by Olivia Gatwood ...more
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I love all Olivia’s performances on Button Poetry so I picked this up. Not mind blowing but not bad either. A 3,5 stars read.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I want to be Olivia Gatwood when I grow up.
Alicia Billingsley
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing loved every piece of it! If you love poetry this is a must read. Just bought it and read it. Going to buy the non kindle version to hold in my hand. I need more. A few favorite lines "Like maybe he is the kind of man who only screams when he is underwater or lets me feel how strong his fingers are without actually touching me.".... "left over from the other universe are hours and hours of waiting for him to kiss me and here, they are just hours."..... "head spun three-sixty exorcist bitc ...more
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Absolutely astounding.
Rachel Small
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I admittedly do not read as much poetry as I would like to, but I've been a huge fan of Gatwood ever since I stumbled across her spoken pieces. This collection really captured her voice, and I look forward for the next piece that she publishes. ...more
Nicole Johnson
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another fantastic poetry collection from Olivia Gatwood. I can't wait to see what she publishes in the future! ...more
Cody Lakin
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I work in a bookstore, and I discovered this small collection by accident. When books of poetry come in, I like to open them up to a random page and see how I feel about just one of the poems. In this way I sift through a lot of bad poetry—mostly the “internet poets,” who are so popular lately, and rarely deserving of it. But I opened “New American Best Friend” to a random page, read a poem called “What Sex Becomes,” and actually said “Oh, wow” involuntarily aloud, had to take a moment to ab
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it
I can appreciate the writing style. She is obviously a very talented poet. She has a sharp wit, a direct, dry writing style that doesn't bother with polishing up the rough spots. If it's difficult, it's difficult... that's how she will write about it.

However, it just wasn't the book for me. I suppose it's because I'm a guy, as cliche as that sounds. But honestly, I don't know how I'm supposed to react to poems about period panties.

Some of the poems were pure gold (Ode to Women of Long Island, Dr
Klarisa ☾✵
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Update as of 11/24/18

Three months later. Reads two poetry collections and completely changes personal rules.

4/5 stars.

I've decided to make some attempts at reading poetry, something I've never really had an interest in and that I've also been intimidated by. As I'm still getting a feel for the genre, I won't be rating the poetry collections I read, at least not for a while. Unless, of course, I really love or hate something.

This was pretty fantastic though, as far as I'm concerned, with s
Ylena Radford
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, 2018-winter
I wanted to like this so bad but the lack of structure and purpose in terms of format bothered me to no end. Not to mention I didn't find any of the topics enlightening or new and the imagery was the same old stuff I've read before. I liked maybe 2 poems from the collection. And even then, I didn't like those 2 poems enough to bookmark them or write down pieces to remember later. Overall, found this book forgettable. ...more
Elena ( The Queen Reads )
curly-sue, nail polish, pastel coiled phone cord, strawberry milk shake
designed by her mother
to ensure she would grow up
the kind of girl who cries
when the boy does not love her-

in an instant
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
“Alternate Universe in Which I Am Unfazed by the Men Who Do Not Love Me” is perfection. “Ode to My Bitch Face” is a close second. Overall, quick and definitely worthwhile read.
Monica Robinson
Jan 17, 2020 rated it liked it
"like maybe the whole town knew what happened there. like maybe no one could get rid of the blood."

New American Best Friend is a devotion to "getting rid of the blood", an unflinching progression from adolescence to adulthood that holds all of the rage and helplessness of such a modern journey. Gatwood's narration has a truthful quality to it that even many of the mainstream progressive feminist poets have failed to possess; she is not striving to make these hurts beautiful or relatable, and as
Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it
"maybe he is the kind of man who only screams when he is underwater or lets me feel how strong his fingers are without actually touching me"

For some reason I thought this was a memoir, and then I got it from the library and was like lol. It's poetry, which I guess is a kind of memoir. I got off to a slow start with this. I was getting these very Milk & Honey vibes where it just felt like a lot nonsensical structural choices for announcing cliches about girlhood and body hair and the lipstick. An
Oct 01, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5-3.75 stars!

i love olivia gatwood and her videos on button poetry and i'm really glad i picked this up! she has such a distinct voice and i liked this a lot although there were a fair few poems that just went by me without an emotional response or connection but that's just a me thing. the topics and themes were so important and i loved how she discussed them!! poetry is hard for me to rate but i will say that the poems that stuck out to me on the read-through were almost all ones that i had
Gervanna Stephens
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gatwood has you reeling from the start. She shocks and taunts and makes you laugh from her tales of childhood and being a teenage girl. Being from the Caribbean, Jamaica precisely, I can relate to the heat of the region in Port of Spain, and the fact that yes, Americans don’t really play Cricket, and people and their misguided perceptions can be demanding. She speaks to the teenage girl and makes the adult female reminisce on things we were not allowed to question as a child. Gatwood writes abou ...more
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am a 34 year old man. I am not part of the demographic that this book originates from and will speak to the clearest. Its not for me, or at least not most of all. But I'm grateful I read it, that it was published, that strangers like me get to read poems like these.

New American Best Friend gave me a glimpse into a world I can't know firsthand. Gatwood's language is all rough and cunning and skillful, sometimes displaying hard adolescence like a good war film. I was queasy at the end; I was que
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Olivia Gatwood is a nationally touring poet, performer, and educator from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her work has been featured on HBO and Verses & Flow, as well as in Muzzle Magazine, Bustle and The Huffington Post, among others. She has been a finalist at the National Poetry Slam, Women of the World Poetry Slam, and Brave New Voices. She is a graduate of Pratt Institute’s Fiction Program.

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19 likes · 2 comments
“One more thing
when they call you a bitch, say thank you. say thank you, very much.”
“They will tell you home is safe zone.
No, bitch face is safe zone.
Bitch face is home.
Bitch face is cutting off the ladder,
willing to burn in the apartment,
if it means he can't get in.”
More quotes…