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Magical Negro

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  421 ratings  ·  68 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
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4.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  421 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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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 Using cultural and historical references, Morgan Parker unabashedly con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 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.
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
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.
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.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, poetry
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
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!!
Lines from: "Toward a New Theory of Negro Propaganda"

"White propaganda is a stutter in the imagination."

"White propaganda relies upon the unwavering belief that any versions of nirvana require the absence of the Negro. This is both the conscious and unconscious peak of White Imagination."

"A young white woman has called the police. It is possible that in the dark slumbering of their unconscious, the White imagines that the only remedy for fear is death."

Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional and canonical. Should be required reading. She reimagines poetic forms and explodes them; she's a true expert, and this is a game changer collection. "Now More Than Ever" should be required reading. Stunning, brilliant work. All hail Morgan Parker.
Review to come.
Emily Polson
Jan 06, 2019 added it
Shelves: arc, poetry
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.
Leah Rachel von Essen
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
Rebecca Stoner
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Morgan Parker wasn't playing around before. In Magical Negro, she goes deeper, wilder, shows her power. She's full of righteous rage. Parker's especially devastating when she talks about the intimate uses of power (even if you don't read the whole book, definitely read the poem about white boys named Matt...they're always named Matt) and the way the history of brutality towards black people echoes in seemingly mundane interactions today. A really affecting book.
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This work is a comprehensive meditation on the intersections of Blackness, womanhood, consciousness, and Millennialist identity in the Trump-era America. There is acute sensitivity and cultural analysis transcribed in these poems, as well as subsequent soul weariness, birthed from the inherited Afro-American collective and enacted through day to day interactions with whites, with men, and with oneself.
The consistent theme here is race, but then, as Parker expounds, when one is Black, one cannot
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To the man who walked into the hotel gym and then promptly left when he heard ‘blood moon in my pussy’ come full volume from my iphone because I forgot my headphones, you really should have stuck around.

Morgan Parker holds nothing back in this brilliant collection of poems be it in language or topic. They’re bold statements that are reactions to current events yet reinforced by history. I loved that she spoke not only about the aggressions and microaggressions continuously committed to a commun
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another great collection from Morgan Parker. It is hard to describe why I like her style so much; the usual platitudes ‘raw’, ‘powerful’ seem so impersonal for a writer who combines nuance with no-nonsense language, who can draw parallels between history and pop-culture without lessening the value of either, who can write obscurities and small customs and yet be completely clear. She does not wrap up her meanings in softened language and metaphors designed to sit gently against the ear, appealin ...more
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
The only recommendation that was given for this book when we went to SubText in St. Paul was "READ THIS AUTHOR." All caps, nothing else. Apparently the bookseller that day had just finished it the night before and thought that it was one of the best things he's ever read in a while--or maybe poetry-wise, at least.

I don't know if it's one of the ~best~ things I've read poetry-wise in a while, but it's definitely up there. There were some poems that I thought, "Yes, that is ~exactly~ what I mean!
Tom McDonald
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

This work is a comprehensive meditation on the intersections of Blackness, womanhood, consciousness, and Millennialist identity in the Trump-era America. There is acute sensitivity and cultural analysis transcribed in these poems, as well as subsequent soul weariness, birthed from the inherited Afro-American collective and enacted through day to day interactions with whites, with men, and with oneself.
The c
Mar 13, 2019 rated it liked it
To be clear: I don't think I was the target audience for this book, as I rarely found myself empathizing with the things Parker wrote about. I was happy to read this collection, though, as something of a sociological experience. Many of the poems pushed the boundaries of my comfort, but that seems more my problem than one with the subject matter or the poet. I was particularly struck by Parker's depictions of the experiences of black women--from being objects of fetishization, to assumptions tha ...more
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
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
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I wish I liked this collection more. I love individual poems of Morgan's, and there are some GREAT ones in this book. But there are also plenty that didn't grab my pulse. That's just the thing about poetry, I suppose: sometimes it hits, sometimes it doesn't, and there really isn't an objective explanation for either.

(the last poem in this collection, ps/it should be noted, is one of the best goddamn poems I've ever read -- just in case anybody was wondering)
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Friday afternoon read.

I keep reading volumes of poetry because I know that the key to understanding is exposure. I’m sure I didn’t grasp everything Morgan Parker is saying but what I did grasp made it worth the read.

Even her acknowledgments are beautiful and lyrical.

Magical Negro #80: Brooklyn literally took my breath away.

Before you tell me: the first volume is already on hold at the library.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, poetry
Through the lenses of pop culture, hip hop, and black history, Morgan Parker delivers a devastating series of poems about the current state of affairs for Black Americans. While there is humor in it, the humor is black and always sets the reader on edge. A powerful, disturbing, and important collection.

[I received an advanced e-galley of this book through Netgalley. It is due to be released February 5, 2019.]
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I can never have enough Morgan Parker. "Ode to Fried Chicken's Guest Appearance on Scandal" dazzles me every time I read it, starting with the first time I read it in Paperbag and then the time taught it to my AP Lit class to illustrate how sometimes the curse word is the exact word you need to now when I read it before bed and still thought holy shit. I'm not sure how Parker is able to move so swiftly through so many ideas and then still snap the poem shut like goddamn.
Luke Gorham
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, poetry
I should love this, but I don't. I should have loved Parker's last collection, but I didn't. The disconnect is somewhere in her scattershot approach to language, individual lines and images landing but the whole always feeling a little pasted together. I don't quite have my pulse on why she doesn't register with me more affectingly.
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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
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