Author: Parker, Morgan
Publication date: 07/02/2019
Imprint: Corsair/Constable & Robin
‘To read MAGICAL NEGRO it is to wonder what each poem will do next, and to be reminded, over and over, of Parker’s extraordinary lyric gifts’ Meghan O’Rourke
MAGICAL NEGRO is an archive of Black everydayness, a catalogue of contemporary folk heroes, an ethnography of ancestral grief, and an inventory of figureheads, idioms and customs. These 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 objectification, while exploring tropes and stereotypes of Black Americans.
Focused primarily on depictions of Black womanhood alongside personal narratives, the collection tackles interior and exterior politics – of both the body and society, of both the individual and the collective experience.
In MAGICAL NEGRO, Morgan Parker creates a space of witness, of airing grievances, of pointing out patterns. In these poems are living documents, pleas, latent traumas, inside jokes and unspoken anxieties situated as firmly in the past as in the present – timeless Black melancholies and triumphs.
Review: Parker’s poetry is a sledgehammer covered in silk, exposing black women’s vulnerability and power and underscoring what it means to be magical and in pain.
Magical Negro is unsettlingly new: a book that incisively explores states of black womanhood with astonishing buoyancy and grief. I can’t stop thinking about the songs it sings, songs that feel inevitable and yet unvoiced, complex and yet urgent; poems that are steeped in pop culture and the here-and-now of actual life while also being refracted through the darkest lens of American history. To read it is to wonder what each poem will do next, and to be reminded, over and over, of Parker’s extraordinary lyric gifts.
This is a marvelous book. See for yourself. Morgan Parker is a fearlessly forward and forward-thinking literary star.
If you’re anxious for your snug perspective to be rattled and ripped asunder, for the predictable landscape you stroll to become all but unrecognizable, for things you thought you knew to slap you into another consciousness – brethren, have I got the book for you. Bey’s bestie continues her reign with this restless, fierce, and insanely inventive way of walking through the world. Once again, children – ignore Ms. Parker at your peril.