‘2019 justly belongs to Morgan Parker. Her poems shred me with their intelligence, dark humor and black-hearted vision. Parker is one of this generation’s best minds, able to hold herself and her world, which includes all of us, up to impossible lights, revealing every last bit of our hopes, failings, possibilities and raptures’ – Danez Smith, winner of the Forward Prize.
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
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