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Butcher is a book about love & loss — about being unapologetic and transparent in grief.

Natasha finds an unexpected solace in the kitchen after losing her best friend and brother, Marcus. Here, using the cuts of the cow as a metaphor Miller, explores addiction, family & tragedy.

Butcher takes the body of a cow and cleaves it into 5 parts: envisioning the cuts as relationship with family members and social forces. Her Mother the rib, her Brother the brisket, her queerness as the tongue and cheek. Butcher is raw and tender. It’s a book that tells the story of a woman who redefined success after losing the most valuable thing to her.

First published February 23, 2021

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Natasha T. Miller

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 94 reviews
Profile Image for Elaina.
51 reviews23 followers
December 30, 2020
First of all, I would like to thank NetGalley for offering me the chance to read in advance this book in exchange for an honest review.
The poetry book contains 32 poems which are systematically arranged in the 5 chapters relating to the body parts of a cow: The Rib, Tongue & Cheek, The Round, The Tenderloin, and The Brisket. All these chapters carry connotations of body and life, and means that feelings are channeled through organs.
The title, “Butcher,” makes us to take into consideration the fact that sometimes we have to be our own feelings’ butcher; even if we may deal with grief, sadness, melancholy, depression, the death of a loved family member or a pet, racism, injustice, we need to cut off any feelings related to them, wipe our tears, and move on because that’s what the society expects from us.
In a nutshell, the poems tell the story of resilience, sisterhood, BLM movement, the continuous survival during daily struggles coming from being a woman of colour and gay besides.

“It’s cold for black girls even
In the summer. It’s winter for us no
matter what season it be.”

Let this poem be the ‘Hey sis, thank you and I see you’
when you’ve become invisible
to movements you’ve created
When you’ve carried sadness two times your body weight
yet still showed up to the functions smiling.

Personally, I’ve recently discovered that poems are conveying more emotions and feelings than a narration, and when that happens to relate to subjects that I like or even subjects that are new and challenging but rendered in simply but genuinely lines, I definitely recommend them to all books/poetry books lovers. And this is also the case of this poetry book.
Profile Image for Kirsty.
Author 74 books1,267 followers
January 13, 2021
"The ocean is not always a tsunami. The wind is not always a tornado. You are no less powerful in all your stillness."

Such a beautiful, readable collection, touching on experiences of grief and loss, Black lives, and being a queer woman (and being a queer, Black woman experiencing grief). Like with all collections, not all the poems landed for me, but there was so much to enjoy and admire.
Profile Image for Nadia (Coleccionista de Historias).
254 reviews30 followers
April 6, 2021
"And if the only legacy you leave behind are stories of your resilience, If it is only your children telling stories about how their mother was never given a crown but still moved like a queen"

I want to thank Netgalley for allowing me this poetry book by Natasha T. Miller which I have to say, I loved.

Butcher is very easy to read because of its format, plus it addresses the story of resilience, sisterhood, the BLM movement, the ongoing survival during the daily struggles of being a woman of colour and also gay.
The poetry book is divided into 5 parts that allude to the body parts of a cow, and each of these parts has poems with connotations of body and life and how feelings are channelled into organs.

Being one of my first times reading poetry I must say that Butcher transmitted all the feelings and made me empathize with everything that has happened around our society and if you have the opportunity to read it do it, it is an English is very easy to understand and a very simple reading.
Profile Image for Misse Jones.
443 reviews32 followers
February 25, 2021
I honestly loved everything about Natasha T. Miller’s, Butcher. Like literally everything. The structure, tone, themes explored, thoughtful selections, and excellently crafted pieces had me feeling all the feels! This collection of poetry, while an exploration of her journey while grieving her brothers death, proved to be so much more, including hope, understanding and healing.

Miller masterfully uses the cuts of a cow to metaphorically describe relationships with her family (particularly her mother, brother Marcus, and nephew Carlito) who have been highly impactful in her life. It also serves to further emphasize her identity and perspectives on larger societal issues.

I definitely whooped, hollered, and clapped several times over while reading An Open Letter to Raven Symone As with all of her poems, she speaks her truths and does not hold back. “Old Black or new Black. Outside gay or bedroom gay, you’re still gay. You’re still taught, still one police stop or I’m sorry I have a woman away from your mother burying you on this same land you tried to protect. Don’t make them have to remind you. You’re still one of us.”

Some of my favorite poems are, “I see you,” a reminder to know your worth and a reiteration of the love and honor you deserve just for being; “How to come out and stay out” and “Hot Flashes.” A huge shout out for, “Dear Kenneka Jenkins”. SHE DESERVED BETTER!

I recommend this book to poetry lovers but to all readers alike. It’s just that good and unapologetically real.

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Button Poetry for granting me access to this book in exchange for an honest review.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Naomi (naomi.reads.world).
94 reviews11 followers
February 4, 2021
I want to start by saying I'm reviewing this as a queer, light-skinned woman - I highly recommend checking out #ownvoices reviews of Butcher before you decide to skip or pick up this collection.

Natasha T. Miller's poetry collection Butcher hits you in the gut as she explores addiction, death and grief, along with her identity as a queer Black woman. Some of her poems feel unfinished, but this reads as intentional, and a painful commentary on the abruptness of death, and the effect tragedy and loss can have on those left behind. The poem "I see you" is particularly powerful in Miller's acknowledgement of the strength and perseverance of Black women.

"Let this poem serve as an acknowledgement of your royalty"

Butcher is a beautiful collection, and my only complaint is that it was over too soon. I had not read or seen any of Miller's words prior to picking this up, and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for future work!

Thank you to NetGalley and Button Poetry for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Anwen Hayward.
Author 2 books300 followers
January 29, 2021
This was an insightful poetry collection, particularly the poems about grief, but ultimately it fell a little flat for me, and I'm not sure why. A lot of the poems were very simplistic and anti-climactic; I quite often found myself waiting for a catharsis that didn't come. I think they'd probably be very powerful as performance pieces, but don't necessarily work as well on the page. Some of them felt a little unfinished, which in a few cases worked, particularly in the poems about death, where the lack of a resolution fit thematically, but at other times it just left me wanting.

These are varied poems, dealing with grief, anger, queerness and family, and I thought that it worked well as a sort of poetic autobiography. It's deeply personal and raw at times, and that's when I think Miller is at her best. Miller is obviously a very talented poet and I'd definitely be interested in looking up some of her performances on YouTube, but this was a collection that didn't quite work for me, which I think is possibly just an issue of medium.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
68 reviews11 followers
February 15, 2021
Butcher is a short (~56 pages and ~32 poems) collection of poems by Natasha T. Miller about her mother's addiction, her brother's death, race, and sexuality. The poems are powerful but a little rough with a few typos and inconsistent font ("theatt" with two t's, potentially missing words in some poems, switching between serif and san serif font in the same poem, etc.), but it's clear Miller is a talented writer. It's organized in parts: The Rib, Tongue & Cheek, The Round, The Tenderloin, and The Brisket, and Meat/Butcher imagery is used throughout to represent pain, loss, and grief. The poems flow well on the page, so you can imagine how they would be performed.

Some of my favorite pieces are "To existing being enough:"

"On days like today you're just existing, and that's fine
The ocean is not always a tsunami.
The wind is not always a tornado"

From "Correction:"

"America is on fire.
Correction: America is burning again.
Correction: America has always been on fire.
We are just paying closer attention to the flames."

*I was given an electronic ARC from Net Galley to review*
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jillian.
1,932 reviews88 followers
March 25, 2021
Look, Butcher is just excellent, and you need to read it. Its poems are beautiful, honest, and visceral. I wish I had more to say, but there it is! Recommended!
Profile Image for TheEuphoricZat.
1,159 reviews34 followers
February 3, 2021
Since it been a while that I read a poetry collection, this was a really good (and I mean sad) one. Here we follow the author's road to 'healing' and 'understanding of her own pain'
A someone who has been dealt a bundle of loss before, a line really stood out to me in this book. 'I want to feel how I feel, even when it's not happiness'- Toni Morrison. The author reflecting on this quote made me do the same. Allow yourself to be sad, angry, disgusted even vengeful but the most important at least to me and from my understanding the author is accepting. Accepting that you have lost something or someone important but there are still a lot more things you can care for and love.
Natasha talks about transgender death and lack of acceptance. "black girls who look like black men wearing a quiet death" This for me translates in different ways, transgender has become an identity rather than a step that allows one to become who they want to really be or who they really are. Sometimes they are not allowed to, afraid to even because they fear the eyes and knives of the world. The other, they become who they really are and they are not accepted because they are 'different or rather unique and strong'

She highlights what people sound like when they say 'all lives matter', honestly she is just hilarious but she poignantly lists out the stupidity of people who make these remarks.

I will end this review with two quotes that I pulled from her poems "Grief is more contagious than joy" so well said. "I know that death is an alarm clock without a snooze button"
Profile Image for Filipa Batista.
185 reviews10 followers
January 3, 2021
A small book, which brings us a lot of hard and cruel feelings. Death, loss, and love are perceived here by the visceral, the offal of an animal, the people important to the author are mirrored in the same way. But what an irreverent way to demonstrate feelings causing strangeness to those who read!
Butcher is thus the name of the book and, yes, the name lives up to all the poems that the author exposes. Butcher of feelings, a butcher of meat that goes further by breaking the soul. It is incredible how in so few words and viscerally we can feel the dexterity and the desire to tear everything to reach the depths of Natasha, becoming herself: a butcher poet! I believe that with this work she found more than a cure for the pain she feels at the death of her brother. This book is a beautiful work of self-analysis and memory protection, but it goes further by proposing to touch the heart and soul of those who read this book.
Alcohol is one of the themes mentioned here, Natasha describes it as a destructive addiction and very present in her life, also admitting her impotence before him. The theme of racial discrimination is felt by the author and highlighted by very current facts.
In addition to being a book that mirrors Natasha's life, it is a current book, demonstrating that Natasha has a great ability to know how to pose and reflect on pertinent themes and, at the same time, bring her life to the top as a way of healing for yourself and others.
I recommend this book to teenagers and young adults to self-examine and/or reflect on the world around them.

Thank you, NetGalley to provide me this copy.
Profile Image for Maddie Brown.
83 reviews2 followers
January 5, 2021
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

"You become the excuse and the excused
the burning building and the fire
expecting to be rescued while left alone"

Butcher by Natasha T. Miller is a collection of poems about loss, grief, and being yourself. Miller provides the emotion felt behind addiction, the loss of her brother, and being in the LGBTQ+ community.

These poems definitely read as spoken poetry, and I wish I could hear them being read aloud. There are very powerful poems in this collection, and the metaphor of a butcher cutting life into different sections creates interesting visuals. There were many poems that worked well and conjured high emotions, but others did not feel as intense. Even though I could not relate to many of these subjects, the poems were still interesting and beautiful.

Again, thank you to NetGalley, Natasha T. Miller, and the publisher for giving be to opportunity to read this collection early.
Profile Image for Jess Witkins.
437 reviews88 followers
January 11, 2021
I wish it was longer. Natasha T. Miller's poetry collection on grief is palpable. It speaks to our times, to the lives of BIPOC and LGBTQ identities, and how to be the person left missing someone. Artistically broken down into sections of meat cut and served, Miller discusses personal losses and community losses.

Particular poems that most moved me included "Ten Things You Sound Like When You Say 'all lives matter' in response to Black Lives Matter," "Nobody's Body is a Crime," "They Say," and "I Learned of Grief too Late."

This book is educational, emotional, and powerful.

Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy.
Profile Image for Kaila.
728 reviews13 followers
February 20, 2021
4/5 stars

Despite being very short, this poetry collection packs an emotional punch. It was beautiful, painfully honest and unapologetically angry at the world around us. It tackled grief, race, family relationships and being a queer woman. The poetry was both insightful and highly passionate. I felt as if I was glimpsing inside the author's very soul for a few painful moments, that is how emotive her language was. The words flowed with grief, loss, love and reluctant resignation.

I especially enjoyed how the poems branched off each other and intertwined in not only themes but also language and structure. I find that a lot of poetry collections seem disconnected, but this felt like a collection of intertwining and interlinked works that complement each other well. After reading this, I am excited to explore more from this undeniably talented author/poet.
Profile Image for Jade.
16 reviews1 follower
February 21, 2021
I enjoyed these poems and thought they told a really cohesive story as a collection, tying together the narrower scope (her brother's death) and the wider scope (being black and queer in America). Certain poems felt a little long, and I thought the author could probably pack a little stronger punch with fewer words or more figurative language. I'm sure a lot of this comes down to personal preference, and I am excited to look up performances of some of these poems, because I think a lot of them will shine even brighter through performance than on paper. Thanks to Netgalley for giving me an arc to review.
Profile Image for Mercedes Yardley.
Author 82 books283 followers
February 23, 2021
Butcher is a lovely, fierce, unapologetic exploration of rage and grief. It manages to be both elevated and accessible, discussing the pain of a loving someone chronically drunk as well as somebody who was murdered. It's both tender and angry, lovely and raw. It's a short book that can be read quickly, but I suggest taking the time to savor each poem. I found myself marking several beautiful, thought-provoking verses in this book. It's full of gems and love and hate and absolute rage and sorrow. There were a few typos and the e-reader format was a bit mushed at times, but the words themselves are fairly dripping with power. This is a must-read.
Profile Image for Sara.
196 reviews21 followers
March 30, 2021
thank you to netgalley and button poetry for providing me a free copy of the book for an honest review.
firstly, I am reading this as a white queer woman, and i urge people to look up #ownvoices reviews too.
as a long-time fan of button poetry i was really excited to get to this book, and upon further inspecting i had listened to a few (very good) poem performances by the author, Natasha T Miller. so, it was only natural that i loved the writing style, as you can sense the slam poetry rhythm in them, plus the play with pausing to affect sentence meaning (some fav examples of this: Sangria, I See You, and Say Less).
this short book has poems that overlap the author's experiences with grief, blackness, queerness, womanhood and the different forms of discrimination that come from it, and touches heavily on her relationships with mother, brother and nephew. As always, i recommend to read books that feature intersectionality of underrepresented experiences
to list favourites i would almost write the index, so I'll highlight two:
1. Correction - a simple short poem, that says so much
2. The title poem Butcher - This poems really helps to round out the perspective from which the book comes from, which is why I'll talk a little bit more about it (this is my interpretation, so do take this with a pinch of salt).
I think the word Butcher can be folded out into the Slaughter and the Cutting. The slaughter reads like a metaphor for the prosecution of black bodies + overlap with queer people and/or women, an uneasiness that Natasha portraits throughout the book. The concept of butchering /cutting yourself up into different representative sections (the concept of the book): splitting yourself up into different labels, dividing the different facets of your life, things that feel present in the life of so many minorities (see e.g. Nobody's Body is a Crime); when this book is an exploration of all of those things coming being present together.
Profile Image for Mara.
400 reviews
March 8, 2021
The poetry collection Butcher by Natasha T. Miller features stunningly vulnerable and passionate reflections on family, grief, racism, sexual orientation, and gender. Miller uses cuts of meat to organize each section and it seems as if her poems are offerings or sacrifices of parts of herself and her anguish and fear. Her mother and brother feature heavily as nuanced people with amazing attributes and flaws. Some of the most powerful poems document her grief and guilt over her brother's sudden and tragic death. Butcher is a truly wonderful, affecting collection.

Thank you Button Poetry and NetGalley for providing this ARC.
92 reviews
January 6, 2021
Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an ARC for this book.

The book is powerful and moving and a captivating study of the flavours of grief across marginalized identities. Quick read, definitely not easy and I'm very glad to have had the chance to read a first person perspective to a en masse struggles like BLM and LGBTQ+ activism.

If you like poetry and you like first person narratives of life and love and grief, I'd recommend Butcher.
Profile Image for Elena.
9 reviews
January 15, 2021
"Butcher" by Natasha T. Miller is a powerful, profound and somehow overwhelming collection of poems. Every word holds such a great amount of pain and emotion: it is nearly impossible to read all on the go, you need time to digest and think out.

It is Evident that Natasha's heart is full of anger and sorrow. She lost her beloved brother, she struggles with acts of racism... she simply wants to raise her voice and stop inequality, homophobia, racism, pain.

Maybe some poems are not powerful as many others, but the emotion enclosed in these words is huge.

Here is "Grief", the poem that touched me the most.

"It’s like opening the fridge
every few minutes hoping
that there will be food.

Except the fridge is your
heart, and the food is a
person you’ll never see again."
Profile Image for Ely.
1,315 reviews110 followers
June 1, 2021
This is a beautiful collection of poems talking about family, grief, addiction, and what it means to be black and Queer in America. There are some really gorgeous poems in here—ones that are extremely moving, and ones that feel like a punch to the gut. It's quite a small collection, but I think it shows promise for Miller's future work so I'll be keeping an eye out for anything else she publishes.
Profile Image for Delaney.
312 reviews22 followers
January 24, 2021
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

How do I feel about Butcher? I don't usually read a lot of poetry, but this book made me feel like I should read it more.

I really enjoyed it. Butcher had a lot of beautiful, powerful, and heartbreaking things to say. It was a quick read, which was great for me. She wrote about a lot of topics that were clearly close to her heart. It was about family, friendship, grief, being queer, being black, and being a woman. And I liked all of it, it was phenomenal.

I don't really have much else to say, so I'll leave you with my favorite quote from the poem Grief: "It's like opening the fridge every few minutes hoping that there will be food. Except the fridge is your heart, and the food is a person you'll never see again."
Profile Image for Susie Dumond.
Author 2 books110 followers
January 20, 2021
Butcher is a beautiful and vulnerable collection of poems about grief, family, queerness, and Blackness. Natasha T. Miller's voice is wonderfully fresh, and her poems offer a relatable yet unique perspective. I really enjoyed this collection and look forward to reading more of Miller's work.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Profile Image for lori light.
153 reviews40 followers
February 10, 2021
Thank you, NetGalley for allowing me to review this beautiful and heartbreaking collection of poetry.

These are words about grief, race, family, and sexuality. Powerful words. I will never understand this kind of loss or this kind of struggle, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate what is said here. Having experienced some painful losses of my own in life, all of the poems about grief cut right to my heart.

“We are all hurting and as a result
all hurting each other

Until you learn to be grieving and gracious

Until you learn that this shit is never just
about you.”

If you like poetry, especially poems from queer, black voices...make sure to add this one to your list.
Profile Image for  Cass .
12 reviews1 follower
May 4, 2021
GET THIS NOW. I loved every single poem.
Profile Image for Sneha.
78 reviews13 followers
January 25, 2021
Update on 01/25/2021 : Ah! What a lovely cover!!

First I would like to thank NetGalley for providing the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Butcher is an amazing collection of 32 poems, divided into different segments, talking about love, loss and portraying a vivid picture of accepting and becoming oneself.

This collection of poems felt so raw, honest and personal that I wished I could go on reading longer. First of all the entire idea of presenting is very unique. I have never read something like this before. After all the chain of events of last year, these poems hit on a whole another level. The style of writing reminds me of words from Ocean Voung, Lang Leave and Rupi Kaur at the same time.

“..the ocean is not always a tsunami/ the wind is not always a tornado/ you are no less powerful/in all your stillness”

It always takes a lot to describe such vivid emotions in just few lines. The poet, talking about the kindness of a mother, loss of a brother, the grief coming out of it, being a person of colour and gay and everything one has to go through for being so as if you are paying a price of something you never purchased. I really enjoyed reading these poems. Couldn’t appreciate more. 
Profile Image for Gillian.
92 reviews37 followers
May 22, 2022
3.5: This is a heartbreaking collection of poetry surrounding Natasha's queerness, her relationship with her mother, and her late brother and coping with his death.

Natasha's pain is clear and it translates through every word. This is definitely not a light read, and my heart hurt with every poem, however it does shed light on dealing with death and grief.

There were some parts of this collection that felt disjointed or even unfinished, however I think that's a perfect representation both of the cuts of beef as a metaphor (disembodying) and of dealing with grief (never-ending). There's a perfect imperfectness to Miller's writing that is so pure and real.

Thanks to Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Griffin Peralta.
93 reviews6 followers
March 20, 2021
Really good poetry collection!
Would recommend to anyone thinking about gender identity and or anyone coping with grief.
Profile Image for Gina.
158 reviews19 followers
February 22, 2021
Thank you Button Poetry and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

"success is not about money or a bottom line / success is sometimes just the lifeline / between your journey and how your story / can inspire or save someone else" - from "The Playground is Empty"

Based on her own definition, Natasha T. Miller's Butcher is a success.  I have no doubt that her poetry will inspire many.

Butcher is organized into five sections, each named after a cut of meat.  Each section focuses on a different subject, including family relationships, social issues, queerness, and grief.  I imagine that, depending on personal experience, different readers will connect more closely with different sections of this book.  I found myself most moved by The Brisket--a collection of poems inspired by Miller's grief over the murder of her brother Marcus--however, my favorite poem in the book is "To existing being enough."  I plan to print it out and keep it at my desk, and I imagine readers who are tattoo lovers getting the lines "You are no less powerful / in all your stillness" inked into their skin.

Stylistically, Miller's poems are all written in free verse and two are written in prose form.  She plays with formatting such as indentations, numbered lists, and italicized text.  I know that Miller is a spoken word poet, and you can hear that flow in some of the poems.  She also uses grammatical structures from AAVE in The Tenderloin poems.  Despite enjoying the different styles of the poems, I would say that the collection does not have a very strong or unified voice overall.

I would recommend this book to poetry lovers, slam poetry lovers, and individuals interested in poetry about race, queerness, intersectionality, family, grief, and coping.  Given the language and content, I'd rate this PG-13 (with a strong emphasis on parental guidance for younger teens).
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