Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Magical Negro” as Want to Read:
Magical Negro
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Magical Negro

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,810 ratings  ·  241 reviews
Magical Negro is an archive of Black everydayness, a catalog of contemporary folk heroes, an ethnography of ancestral grief, and an inventory of figureheads, idioms, and customs. These American poems are both elegy and jive, joke and declaration, songs of congregation and self-conception. They connect themes of loneliness, displacement, grief, ancestral trauma, and objecti ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Tin House Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Magical Negro, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Magical Negro

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,810 ratings  ·  241 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Magical Negro
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don't really know how to talk about poetry. I know what I like and I know what I don't like. These poems are amazing. Strange. Clever. Playful. Powerful. Intricately crafted. Parker takes on the contemporary black condition, interracial dating, history, the gap in Angela Davis's teeth. She has a nuanced understanding of popular culture and how blackness contributes to what we consume. A lot to admire here. Great book.
Adam Dalva
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Terrific book - lives up to the high standards of Parker's earlier poetry collections, while branching out in new, incisive directions.
"No one can serve two masters like we can, be future and what they threatened to forget."

My first time reading Morgan Parker's work was when I received an ARC for The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic. To say that I LOVED this anthology would be an understatement. See review here: Black Girl Magic So when I came across this title on NetGalley I was super excited.

Magical Negro is radical, elegiac, witty and intimate. Using cultural and historical references, Morgan Parker unabashedly con
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read these poems twice, before and after a historical novel about racism in Oregon, and it strikes a chord with me that this collection is published by Tin House. One of the poems even talks about how it's too late for her to try to live in Portland or Brooklyn (the two homes of her publishing house.) And so the poetry settles into the reality of our existence, and the need to confront discomfort if we are really going to talk about race.

Since I had a review copy I can't quote any poems direc
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry

12 lines into the first poem and tears filled my eyes ready to escape and poor down my face. I read myself. I read my life. This is a reflection of me. Of my people. I cry because sometimes the hurt can sit in your stomach for so long until you release it.

“and repetition is a literary device, and paranoia is a weakness of the oppressed: we cannot be mentally sound”.

Morgan Parker points out all that is Black. She brings forth the stereotypes that has shaped an image of us that may not be rep
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I became fully absorbed in the living windows that Morgan Parker paints with her lyrical words each time I opened this book and began reading. Her gift of poetry is extraordinary and I read spellbound.
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Magical Negro feels like...when I text my Black queer friend(s) that I feel alone and want to die, and she hears my pain. Then we talk about the new hair products we’re using and the white girl at work who pissed us off the other day.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, just wow, what a way to start 2019. This collection is a must read for everyone. Especially white people, more importantly white men.
The poetry in this book is stunning. It's lyrical but also punchy and also so very cutting. If you are white, like me, you need to read this. You need to know all the ways in which Black folks are dehumanized. You need to learn how nano-atomic it is. How string-molecular. How, not daily, but minuteLY. You need to know that every time you say "all of us" you are cutting out millions. You need to learn a new way of thinking. You need to turn yourself around. This will help. I promise it will help. ...more
David J
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
With Magical Negro, Morgan Parker builds and improves upon her previous poetry collection, 2017’s There are More Beautiful Things than Beyoncé, and I am so here for it. Magical Negro details what it means to be black, what it means to be a black American, and what it means to be a black American woman in such a gut-wrenching and informative way that you can’t help but pay attention and soak in the frustration and rage and pain and pride and love and sorrow of it all. Parker mixes American past w ...more
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Morgan Parker makes miracles happen with words. Her first book, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé was so fabulous I had to read this as soon as I found out about it. She writes piercingly of race. Vivid images are counterpointed with street vernacular or more ordinary speech but the combination is thrilling and often disturbing. Her poems are both a celebration of African-Americans and an indictment of white America. ...more
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetshere, atonement
repetition is a literary device,
and paranoia is a weakness of the oppressed: we cannot be mentally sound.

My reaction to this magnificent collection can be found at the point where my self-conscience meets self-awareness, the result is silent appreciation.
Leah Rachel von Essen
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Morgan Parker's newest poetry collection, MAGICAL NEGRO, is an incredible catalog of everyday despair, hope, fear in Black life, in Black womanhood. The book is divided between three parts: "Let Us Now Praise Famous Magical Negroes," "Field Negro Field Notes," and "Popular Negro Punchlines." Parker evokes the voices of figureheads and folk heroes; Parker calls back to the deepest, oldest grief and black traumas while talking about her sexuality, her fear, her hurt today in its vivid pop culture ...more
Feb 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, arc
This ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Parker's previous collection has been on my radar for a long time, and has evaded my grasp on a few occasions. When the opportunity to review this new collection appeared (thank you, NetGalley!), I jumped on it. While there are some strong poems here and there in the book's center section, on the whole I never did catch the wave or rhythm of this book.

While there are some moments that pack a punch, I wanted to
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
She has a way of blending pop culture with the poignant with the abstract with the just-right-little-detail with a lot of attitude. Sometimes I understand her, other times I don't but don't care because it feels right. Some of her poems are more like essays and I wish those were longer and more essay-like, because sometimes I need a little more to get her essay-points than her poetry-points.

Nancy Meyers and My Dream of Whiteness

I can’t be sorry
enough. I have learned
everything is urgent.
Road clos
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Parker's lyrics hopscotch amidst the personal and the political, the popular and the literary. Desire and individuality erupt through broader cultural and contextual concerns. She seems equally comfortable amidst a profusion of forms while playing off racial tropes to great advantage.
One of my favorites from this collection:

"Magical Negro #80: Brooklyn"

Here is the bright, young food co-op.

Here is the steeple. Here are the royals

not yet dead. H
After reading There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, I was so excited to pick up Parker’s new collection. Magical Negro is different. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I enjoyed her previous collection, but it’s also different in a good way.

I don’t want to turn this review into a comparison/contrast kind of deal— But I want to say that the way Parker went about Magical Negro is wittier and careful to consider the past and present to talk about Black culture and trauma. There are careful,
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
ahhh!! i can't remember if i started this on sunday or monday. either way go read this!!!! been a while since i read something this refreshing
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I don't know if this is true or not, but in general, when students recommend books to me, I don't like them.

But this was recommended by a student, and I thought it was wonderful.

I have neither the emotional capital, emotional capacity, or the energy (it's been a long school year, let alone evening) to write this book the review it deserves.

So I'll settle with some lines that stuck out to me:

From, "And Cold Sunset,"

"Nothing helps me not think about universes."

From, "The History of Black People, P
Cátia Vieira
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Why should you read this book?
I always keep a poetry book around and read a few poems each day. I finished Magical Negro by Morgan Parker this week and I have to say that I am amazed by Parker’s writing!

Magical Negro is a such a short poetry collection but it packs a punch. The poems revolve around black heritage and what it means to be black in our world.

Parker is such a resourceful, powerful and extraordinary poet. Her writing is touching and clever and I was amazed by the way she’s able to co
Anthony Chan
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
morgan parker is my jam!!! "It Was Summer Now and the Colored People Came Out Into the Sunshine" wrecked me bad!!
Apr 17, 2019 added it
Morgan Parker's poetry is fire, and not just in the colloquial sense. These poems burn and destroy and lighten the dark. Painful, harsh, and cleansing. The last section was my favorite.
Megan O'Hara
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
someone teach me how to read poetry bc this is good.
Krista Regester
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The History of Black People


The saddest triptych
is our blood, trouble
passed down. A root out
on our wet stiff suits.
Everyone walks behind us.
I would rather dance
hoodwinked with the devil
than be alone. I pick
bad juju over yellow
meadow and your moon.
Florida, Kentucky hemlocks
grow in sepia glint. Red clay
everywhere. This isn’t a dream—
in the beginning, red clay.
Amorak Huey
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Funny, smart, bold, keenly observed poems about race, sex, gender, identity, America, and being alive in this time and place.
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Parker’s poetry is always like a transcendent gut punch. Highly recommended.
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
IQ "This is a phrase used by Whites to express their surprise/ and disapproval of social or political conditions which, to the Negro, are devastatingly usual. Often accompanied by an unsolicited touch on the forearm or shoulder, this expression is a favorite among the most politically liberal but socially comfortable of Whites. Its origins and implications are necessarily vague and undefined. In other words, the source moment of separation between 'now' and 'ever' must never be specified." ('Now ...more
Lalaa #ThisBlackGirlReads
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I think of some of the books that I couldn’t wait to read in 2019, Magical Negro was at the top of that list. I’m pleased to say that it did not disappoint. Fierce and extremely inventive each poem in this collection spoke to me and often acted as that little voice in the back of my mind.

I was introduced to Morgan Parker when I read “There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé” that took a brash exploration of what it means to be a black woman in contemporary American culture. Needless to
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"I Feel Most Colored When I am Thrown Against a Sharp White Background"
"Nancy Myers and My Dream of Whiteness"
"'Now More Than Ever'"

"I tongue elegy...
I background my country." (3)

"You can't stop mourning
everything all the time...

It is never enough to be born
again and again." (7)

"Nothing helps me not think about universes." (11)

"Alec Baldwin is smoking a joint
in the bathroom of a CEO's
birthday party. Steve Martin
tastes the goat cheese
and considers nothing...
Diane Keaton makes mid
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I read and loved Morgan Parker's previous collection, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, and was so excited to hear that she had another one coming out. Her writing calls you for you sit and savor her words and form.

This one was a bit harder for me to enjoy. I appreciated the emotion behind her words, the sharpness of the lines that she aims toward the media, politicians, the police and any other source of anti-blackness in America. And there definitely are individual lines that I lov
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Tradition
  • Homie
  • Postcolonial Love Poem
  • Soft Science
  • A Fortune for Your Disaster
  • Deaf Republic
  • Oculus: Poems
  • Obit
  • Be Recorder: Poems
  • Finna: Poems
  • American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin
  • Don't Call Us Dead
  • Felon: Poems
  • 1919
  • The Octopus Museum
  • When My Brother Was an Aztec
  • Brute: Poems
  • The Carrying: Poems
See similar books…
Morgan Parker is the author of THERE ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAN BEYONCÉ, a Goodreads Choice Award semi-finalist, and OTHER PEOPLE'S COMFORT KEEPS ME UP AT NIGHT, selected by Eileen Myles for the 2013 Gatewood Prize. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Tin House, The Paris Review, The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, Best American Poetry 2016, The New York Times, a ...more

Articles featuring this book

Luster is the breathtaking and often hilarious debut from novelist Raven Leilani. The story follows Edie, a 23-year-old trying to find her way...
57 likes · 11 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »