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4.10  ·  Rating details ·  245 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and Oddisee meet traditional verse in this urgent collection of poems by Pushcart Prize winner and NAACP Image Award finalist Marcus Wicker.

A suburban park, church, a good job, a cocktail party for the literati: to many, these sound like safe places, but for a young black man these insular spaces don’t keep out the news—and the actual threat—of gun v
Paperback, 70 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Mariner Books
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Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  245 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is not a moment in this book when you are allowed to forget the complexities of a black man's life in America. These poems evoke so much--strength, beauty, passion, fear. There is the quiet, ironic pleasure of life on a cul-de-sac juxtaposed with the tensions of always wondering when a police officer's gun or fists might get in the way of the black body. The stylistic range of these poems, the wit, and the intelligence of them offers so much to be admired. There is nothing silent about Sil ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
What is it like to be a black man in midwestern America? Marcus Wicker answers that question in these poems, from microaggressions at a party to interactions with a colleague. He is in deliberate conversation with many writers, but specifically the works Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine. Both of these works are specifically mentioned on the notes page to this volume of poems, where you will also find the context for each poem and a pl ...more
Sep 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetshere
I found these staggered experiments in verse to be challenging. Thematically I found them to be about perception, the enhanced aura of the consumer and its attendant prestige. There is also the daily micro aggressions which enrage. There is finally the lethal suppositions that regard all black people as criminal offenders, and what consequently becomes a proportionate response. This was probably a 2.5 star collection for me.

My curiosity was engaged when I discovered that the poet was from south
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"... No black mass
incarceration rate because, no whit-masked
grandparents. No wide masts. No hoods
but neighbors. Just us. All of us left
with the age-old problem of how best to
love each other."
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Using quick-flowing, inspired verse, Marcus Wicker portrays the life of today’s African American. These poems are best read aloud.
Shelby Lynne
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: heart-poetry
I read this collection casually and it demands much more than that. Would have loved to study this in a class with the benefit of varying perspectives, but it was rewarding as merely a personal encounter. "Ars Poetica" and "Plea to My Jealous Heart" especially struck me.
Tammy V
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I picked this up browsing in the library in the poetry section. When I sat down to read it, I flipped through to the back and the poem didn't make sense to me. So I started at the beginning and was having the same problem until I realized that some of these are spoken work/rap poems and you have to "hear" them differently in your head than the poetry I'm used to reading.

So i read them again.

A 2nd read put me in a more receptive frame of mind.. I persisted just for the experience. And once I'd r
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Powerful book of poetry that had my mind all over the place. I was questioning things throughout the entire book and would recommend this work to any poetry lover.
Daniel Casey
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
The tone of these poems is at once challenge and lament. Wicker not only has a keen poetic ear but also a profoundly critical eye turning popular culture inside out with an eerie satirical tongue at once entirely serious. For example, the poem Plea to My Jealous Heart:

"What’s funny is that you think I can stop praying.
That you think I take existence—blown dandelion
across a philtrum—lightly, as irresponsible
birdsong. As the wren, finch, chickadee & prairie warbler.
As scarlet tanager, indigo bunti
Winter Blanc
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I so badly want to give this book five stars. But I rated it right after I finished it, mear hours before I left to meet Mr. Wicker himself. It is because of this encounter with the poet that I have a much higher appreciation for the poems than I did before.
I feel it is important to say that I do not enjoy poetry on any given day. This book was gifted to me and since I was going to meet the man who wrote it I felt it was the least I could do to read it in it's entirety.
Frankly I struggle r
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“I metabolize rage,/ almost all of the time.”

“& you think I can stop praying? When my lover locks/
our pinkies in a crowded art gallery, I praise the body, praise/
every kissable knuckle, every painstakingly etched wave/
in a fingerprint, & you think I could take a host for granted/
o center of every body? O, all-knowing ebbless red sea/
I want to look in your face & live this beautifully always./
O metacarpal, proximal, o distant phalange, all-powerful finger/
In a breastplate, touch me light as a f
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2019
3.5 stars
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, ebook
Incisive poems, mostly focused on the nature of faith or the inherent struggle between blackness and suburbia. Gorgeous, evocative, and powerful.
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am not good at reviewing poetry. How do you review feelings and aren't emotions what good poetry touches? This collection of poems covers many hard (and some light) topics, ones that I cannot understand the way the author does. But they make me think, to try and see life through his lens of his experience which is so different from mine. In particular, his poem "Watch Us Elocute" was troubling for me to read. Written following the AME church shooting in 2015 the poem highlights some of the sli ...more
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read a collection of poetry in years; the only reason I did now is due the reading challenge I'm participating in. I was blown away by the lyrical nature of Marcus Wicker's writing. As a middle class white woman, I don't know what it's like to be a black man, so I loved seeing the world from a different perspective, as difficult as that perspective may be. However, Wicker's writing did resonate with me. I may be middle class and white, but I'm from the Ozarks and speak with a southern ...more
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Marcus Wickers writes poems about being a black man in America and living in the Midwest suburbs, working in academia. I have no experience with any of this, but his writing still reaches you. Maybe you, like me, cannot relate or understand his day-to-day, but you can definitely appreciate his poems (that often read like lyrical journals). His writing is personal and expressive, two things vital for poetry, and this collection is one of the most original things I've read in quite a while.

Want t
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I admit it; I bought this book because of the beautiful Kehinde Wiley painting on the cover. But I love it because of the content. To spend an afternoon with Wicker's work is, in his own words and taken out of context, "to be baptized in palpable comfort."
Lindsay Cole
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I mean. WOW. WOW. WOW.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good, introspective look into the life of a person of color in contemporary America.
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
This was a really solid collection from Wicker. The language has punch, the metaphors are fresh, and the poems are emotionally resonate. This was a fantastic collection to read right now, while movements like Black Lives Matter bring more coverage to topics like police violence, which this book addresses. Wicker really brings home his experiences as a black man in America, and his words cut me to the quick. I'm thankful to have read this. The only reason I'm not rating this higher is just a matt ...more
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Silencer is lyrical, passionate poetry about what it means to be an African American male while also talking about his faith. Perhaps we cannot understand what Wicker has lived or how he can have faith after what he lives but it cries out that if we are to change anything we must try.

I don't often read poetry but I'm trying to read more out of my regular genres. I saw this one in a local store and the cover looked intriguing and the description on the back called to me that I had to buy and read
Dec 11, 2017 added it
Shelves: more-poetry
Rating: 3 1/2

Poetry about being black in America, God, life in suburbia, etc. A lot of references to hip hop musicians: L.L. Cool J., Kendrick Lamar, Tupac Shakur, etc.

"Ars Poetica Battle Rhyme for Really Wannabe Somebodies"
"Stumped Speech on the Internet"

Cashier holding my twenty up to the light to see if it's real money. Like I'd be shopping at Walmart if I could counterfeit money.
- "Blue Faces"
Oct 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I loved the hip-hop rhythms and the intense play with sound in these poems. Wicker's craft is tight and impressive. My favorite poems were the ones detailing microagressions toward the speaker and the ones about the speaker's struggle with faith. I wanted more emotional depth and more relationships, thus the three stars. A good read overall.
Kayla Wiltfong
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Marcus Wicker, I love your poetry, from the biting poems that comment on the current political situation to the soft and easy prayers about religion, to those that combine both aspects into a commentary on the world that we live in.

This is a masterful and moving book of fabulous poetry.

Some of the best modern poetry you'll find on the written page. Sounds like spoken word, or rap.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-from-pub, poetry
For a slim collection of poems, Silencer certainly packs a punch.
Touching upon history, current events, and future hopes, Wicker has a voice that needs to be heard.

With thanks to Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
"I come from a long braid of dangerous men who learned to talk their way out of small compartments."

Everything that needs to be said about the current situation in our world pieced together in beautiful verse.
Shanique Edwards
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, fabulous-poetry
The poems here run the gamut of the (American) black male experience, touching everything from respectability politics, police brutality, love, emotion, racism, family, and the American dream. So real.
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This collection is extraordinary. I can't wait to use it in my classes.
I'm not saying more. I want you to read it. Then come have coffee with me and we can talk about it.
As you read, don't be afraid to read it aloud. And over and over.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
"& who am I
even really talking to?"
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: african-american
“Ars Poetica,” kinda broke my heart—a little bit. But dang good writing.
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Marcus Wicker is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, The Missouri Review's Miller Audio Prize, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem, and the Fine Arts Work Center. His first collection Maybe the Saddest Thing (Harper Perennial), a National Poetry Series winner, was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. Wicker's poems have appeared in The Nation, ...more

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