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The Willies

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  50 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The Willies is a book that finds its author grappling with the intersections of race, gender, and a family trying to stay close, despite the failing health of its patriarch. These poems are honest, vulnerable, and unflinching in their ability to look into the speaker's complications. The poems trace the author's childhood, adulthood, and hopeful future, all of them asking ...more
Paperback, 64 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Button Poetry
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Emily B
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This collection of contemporary and relevant poems explores sexuality, family relationships, race and alcoholism. Its honest and worth the short times it takes to read. ...more
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Yes, I like how this collection was written with all the angst and the emotions. This collection is all about the author's experience of being a writer, his sexuality and facing discrimination for the same and also about racism. I like how the author focuses on the people around him and the several issues that he had to face; losing his best friend and the grief he went through. The collection is really short. The words are deep and meaningful. Please do not rush through the words. Take it ...more
Andrea Pole
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The Willies, a collection of poems by Adam Falkner, is an introspective and conversational approach to queerhood in America in which the poet lays himself bare with honesty and candor. The musings are wide ranging yet accessible, presented at times with humour, and often surprising, yet always raw and thought-provoking. Recommended.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Button Poetry for the opportunity to read this ARC.
Anwen Hayward
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to the publisher via Netgalley for the ARC.

This one got to me, man. This is the power of poetry. Falkner expresses youthful queerness better than anyone I've ever read. The lengths we go to in order to appear straight - not even straight, necessarily, but anything other than that which we are - and the reclamation of what we've missed out on when finally we're able to be honest with ourselves about it. I was expecting this poetry collection to be heartbreaking, but I wasn't expecting it
Keondra Freemyn
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
i started this book with an open mind, but i ended up quite disappointed. many reviewers have mentioned that the collection touches on race as a theme, but really, it's about whiteness and grappling with black cultural appropriation. everyone has their journey and i don't want to undermine the individual work that the author may be doing, but the collection itself is unsuccessful in capturing the intricacies of this sensitive issue. the collection covers many other themes (queerness, alcoholism, ...more
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
"Nothing stays weightless forever"

These poems were raw, filled with emotion, and honesty. A quick read but a glance through the eyes of the poet. Struggles with family, love and life.

Some of the poems definitely stood out more than others, overall a solid collection.
Carl McKever
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I met this writer nearly 9 years ago in Boston at a writer's convention and has been speechless ever since. Before sharing and detailing the parts of this book I enjoy, I'm remarkably amazed at his wit and craft in poetry writing as well as his humor on stage. Adam has performed open mikes across many states and in many bars, and the same holds true: he's approachable, people-minded, clever in speech, and presents himself in business attire when performing. His assiduousness, adaptability, and ...more
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, arcs
The Willies, poet and scholar Adam Falkners first full-length collection, offers a sharp and vulnerable new portrait of the journey into queerhood in America.

This collection as it is read feels so cathartic, like it's being unleashed into the world and it makes for such pacey and riveting read as you fall into the words throughout this collection. How Falkner talks about himself being queer or the grief of losing someone, no matter the thought, he spills feeling withs his words and it makes for
Montgomery Pierce
The Willies is a shockingly honest and raw poetry collection that dives into the depths of growing up queer and finding oneself and ones identity. It bisects expertly with themes of grief and loss, grappling with familial acceptance, and learning how to accept oneselfeven if the journey to get there is often laid on uneven ground.

Between the lines of pining prose, lyrical quotes, and witty humor, Adam Falkner adds in sharp critiques of whiteness and his own white privilege. This collection is,
Mar 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks #NetGalley for the review copy of #TheWillies

I had a hard time getting into many of these poems, but the ones I liked all hit very deeply. "My Grandma Calls Me Barack" almost offhandedly describes the emotionally difficult experience of seeing a loved one go through dementia and all of the little signs that though they're physically speaking to you, their mind is in a different time and place. "Fishing the Little Pigeon" is about family legacies - the good and the bad. In this poem, a
lu ☾
Feb 27, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

This was such a lovely collection. It mainly focused on topics such as queerness, loss, alcoholism and white privilege. As it usually happens with poetry collections, there were some poems I loved and some poems I didn't really care much about. My favorite ones where definitely those that explored sexuality, growing up queer and coming out, and the ones about grief. They were very raw and a little heartbreaking and sometimes felt like a kick in the gut, but that's exactly what I'm
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
*I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the free poetry collection*

In this collection, Falkner discusses themes such as coming out as gay (bisexual maybe?), sexual awakening, suicide, family relations, white-guilt, and gender. I didn't like all of the poems, but some of them were well written, humbling, and intimate. Others were funny. For example "The Whitest Thing": Owning your own white guilt isn't cool / yet, so you stuff the soft parts of other kids' /
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a great collection of introspection from within about place and identity in communities. From the familial struggles of a fraught and fragile father figure who is dealing and coping with his own struggles to the struggle of his son as he puts on armor to prepare for the battle of coming out only to life his visor and see it is still a battle but not to the level he expected. There is a strong poetic threads and seeds that relate to race, white privilege and white guilt. There is some ...more
Kathleen Quarfordt
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Adam Falkners new book of poems The Willies explores overlapping and intersecting themes of queerness, race, privilege, alcoholism, and family relationships with raw, sometimes funny and always incisive storytelling. Braiding together multiple often contrasting versions of his experiences, he invites us to accompany him in an unflinching, kaleidoscopic examination of self. The work is searing, yet generous. Regardless of what biographical details we may or may not share with him, Falkner beckons ...more
Adrienne Renee
Feb 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Adam Falkner writes about race, addiction, white privilege, queerness, and what it means to un-become the terrible, problematic people we used to be based on what our small towns & suburbs have taught us & how to continue to grow up & out of it. There are parts of this book Im still processing, but (like a lot of poetry collections I read) I need to read it a few more times before my thoughts on it settle. Just as Adam mentioned in an interview in Them Magazine, I hope every queer ...more
Maggie Fried
The Willies by Adam Falkner contains a number of poems which cover a variety of topics including alcoholism, growing up, coming out, race, love, and vulnerability. The poems were raw and full of feeling while also being easy to understand and relate to. I really enjoyed reading through these poems and could see myself returning to re-read some in the future. This was a quick but impactful read and I look forward to reading more by Adam Falkner.

Like non-fiction, I don't always give star ratings
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Falkner's poetry was so vivid and entrancing I felt myself unable to put the collection down. It's a work that opens up to an array of themes and subjects such as coming out, race, growing up and family relationships, I'll be looking out for this book in stores and recommending it to anyone I think would be interested.

Thanks to NetGalley, Button Poetry and the author of this collection for the opportunity to read this arc in exchange for an honest review.
Kirsten never has enough time
I'm not much of a poetry reader. I'm aphantasic, which mean I don't really get anything from descriptive language, it takes me a long time to process it, and I don't really ~feel~ the vast majority of it. But I keep trying, because I think it's important to try and expand your horizons. I jammed with a good bit of the poetry in here, some of the themes... poetry I actually enjoyed, who'da thunk it.
Arhm Wild
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Willies is the type of book you wish people would read over your shoulder on the subway to share in the medicine of its honesty. The fierce and generous vulnerability of these poems beckons our own stories to venture out in all their queer and growing pain glory and creates a guide to reckoning with the at-times dissonance of our privilege and desire. I cant wait to share these poems with the youth I work with. ...more
Mandy Hazen
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I cannot begin to understand or attempt to understand the struggles the author went through in their life. It is at points difficult to read, but well written. This is the story of a young mans life growing up with the struggles of people understand and coming to terms with him being gay, and the struggle he goes through To share this with those he loves. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Chloe Natasha
I wanted to love this, but I just couldn't connect to it in the way I hoped to. A couple of the poems resonated with me, and Falkner is wonderful with his words, but I can't say this was a memorable read. Worthwhile, to be sure, but sadly it wasn't for me!
Steven S
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This latest book by Adam Falkner is a true collection of authentic, raw, and deep poems. It speaks to multiple readers, but is a unique and powerful representation for the LGBTQ+ community
J.D. DeHart
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Adam Falkner offers us a book that is beautiful, jarring, and speaks to valuable human experience. What more can you ask of a poet? There is much to consider and appreciate in this volume.
Alannah O'hagan
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The vocabulary of the book is both poetic and colloquial and while the subject matter seems very personal to the authors experience I found it easy to relate to. ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2020
The Willies is a collection of poetry by Adam Falkner, you may recognise his name and poetry from the Button Poetry YouTube channel. The text is split into three distinct sections, each dealing with an array of themes.

The first section covers suicide, constrained relationships with his father, the pain of hiding your sexuality, and white privilege. For me, the most interesting moment was the dissection of white privilege and the understanding that, as a white person, he can consume culture and
Charles F.
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Adam Falkner is a poet of rare sensitivity, honesty, and insight. Reading him is a joy, and even more, it is an invitation to a richer life of purpose and meaning.
April Harris
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading The Willies! I found it only chance while cruising through Netgalley's Read Now. Adam Falkner's poetry was raw and very relatable. He covered issues of alcoholism, coming out to family, political views, and founding one's self. This was such a refreshing read for me! I will most definitely buy a physical copy of this poetry book when it comes out.
I'm honestly frustrated by this book. While I think it's extremely important that white people acknowledge race and cultural appropriation and I do applaud people taking the topic on it's difficult when the poems talking about this cultural appropriation have lines adapted from the rappers involved in the original appropriation as a young man loving rap and wanting to be Black. Using these lines to perform the speaker's understanding of Blackness doesn't give me much confidence especially ...more
Shannon O'Connor
rated it really liked it
Mar 05, 2020
Christopher Dickerson
rated it it was amazing
Feb 16, 2020
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