Magical Negro: Book summary and reviews of Magical Negro by Morgan Parker

Magical Negro

by Morgan Parker

Magical Negro by Morgan Parker X
Magical Negro by Morgan Parker
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About this book

Book Summary

From the breakout author of There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé comes a profound and deceptively funny exploration of Black American womanhood.

A Most Anticipated Book of 2019 at O, the Oprah Magazine and Publishers Weekly.

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 objectification, while exploring and troubling 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, 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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Book Awards

  • award image National Book Critics Circle Award, 2019

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review." - Publishers Weekly

"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, T Magazine

"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." - Patricia Smith

"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." - Meghan O'Rourke

"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." - BuzzFeed

This information about Magical Negro was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Morgan Parker Author Biography

Photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Morgan Parker is the author of Magical Negro (Tin House Books 2019), There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé (Tin House Books 2017), and Other People's Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night (Switchback Books 2015). Her debut book of nonfiction will be released in 2020 by One World. Parker received her bachelor's degree in anthropology and creative writing from Columbia University and her master's in poetry from NYU. Her poetry and essays have been published and anthologized in numerous publications, including the Paris Review; The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop; Best American Poetry 2016; the New York Times; and the Nation. Parker is the recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, winner of a 2016 Pushcart Prize, and a Cave Canem ...

... Full Biography
Link to Morgan Parker's Website

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