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Tenderness

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In a country where violence and the threat of violence is a constant weather for queer black people, where can the spirit rest? With lush language, the meditative poems in the Isabella Gardner Award-winning Tenderness examine the fraught nature of intimacy in a nation poisoned by anti-Blackness and homophobia. From the bedroom to the dance floor, from the natural world to T In a country where violence and the threat of violence is a constant weather for queer black people, where can the spirit rest? With lush language, the meditative poems in the Isabella Gardner Award-winning Tenderness examine the fraught nature of intimacy in a nation poisoned by anti-Blackness and homophobia. From the bedroom to the dance floor, from the natural world to The Frick, from the Midwest to Florida to Mexico City, the poems range across interior and exterior landscapes. They look to movies, fine art, childhood memory, history, and mental health with melancholy, anger, and playfulness. Even amidst sorrow and pain, Tenderness uplifts communal spaces as sites of resistance and healing, wonders at the restorative powers of art and erotic love, and celebrates the capaciousness of friendship.


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In a country where violence and the threat of violence is a constant weather for queer black people, where can the spirit rest? With lush language, the meditative poems in the Isabella Gardner Award-winning Tenderness examine the fraught nature of intimacy in a nation poisoned by anti-Blackness and homophobia. From the bedroom to the dance floor, from the natural world to T In a country where violence and the threat of violence is a constant weather for queer black people, where can the spirit rest? With lush language, the meditative poems in the Isabella Gardner Award-winning Tenderness examine the fraught nature of intimacy in a nation poisoned by anti-Blackness and homophobia. From the bedroom to the dance floor, from the natural world to The Frick, from the Midwest to Florida to Mexico City, the poems range across interior and exterior landscapes. They look to movies, fine art, childhood memory, history, and mental health with melancholy, anger, and playfulness. Even amidst sorrow and pain, Tenderness uplifts communal spaces as sites of resistance and healing, wonders at the restorative powers of art and erotic love, and celebrates the capaciousness of friendship.

32 review for Tenderness

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    Shared through contemplative musings, as well as rich, evocative language, the poems in this collection share themes of love, companionship, intimacy and the bonds we form, as well as the hate shown to those whose skin is Black, or Brown, or any variation from White, and those who choose to love who they love, regardless of race or sex. There’s an occasional matter-of-fact-ness to some of these poems, sharing feelings and thoughts we can, or should be able to, relate to. A relatability that allo Shared through contemplative musings, as well as rich, evocative language, the poems in this collection share themes of love, companionship, intimacy and the bonds we form, as well as the hate shown to those whose skin is Black, or Brown, or any variation from White, and those who choose to love who they love, regardless of race or sex. There’s an occasional matter-of-fact-ness to some of these poems, sharing feelings and thoughts we can, or should be able to, relate to. A relatability that allows us to absorb how much we have in common, and focus on those rather than the differences. It’s raw, real, and lovely. This is the first of his work that I’ve read, so I opened these first pages somewhat tentatively, knowing little about him, except after reading that he is a contemporary poet, the winner of the 2021 Isabella Gardener Award, as well as the 2015 A. Poulin Prize, A Cave Canem fellow, as well as reading that he’d previously published Trouble the Water. The following excerpt is from that collection. ’Persian Blue’ ’Tonight, our thousand and second night, tell me the story of our laughter through sudden summer rain. Tell me the story of salt: on your shoulder, chest, and chin. Tell me how that first week we seemed to know our pasts by heart, where we’d been and where we planned to go.’ There’s a raw, sensuous beauty to his writing which speaks to me, makes my heart quicken, my focus on these words that move me, teach me, make me feel, make me want to read more by him, and let him break my heart over and over again. There’s a relatability in these poems, as well, allowing us to see these things, feelings, hopes and dreams that we have in common. We love, we break, we heal again, we learn and go on to live in celebration of this gift. Published: 07 Sep 2021 Many thanks for the ARC provided by BOA Editions Ltd. / Consortium Book Sales & Distribution

  2. 4 out of 5

    Allie

    "What a marvel / to share my body, comfortable in it, / with you, my rushlight, who did not hurt me." Just great. I didn't really care for the series of poems following the author's travels with friends through Mexico, but the best of the poems in this collection are memorable, precise, and fantastic. From the voice of a queer black American, some recurring themes are intimacy, art, religion, and trauma. "Whistler painted The Peacock Room / 140 years ago. Slavery had no been exised / from the Amer "What a marvel / to share my body, comfortable in it, / with you, my rushlight, who did not hurt me." Just great. I didn't really care for the series of poems following the author's travels with friends through Mexico, but the best of the poems in this collection are memorable, precise, and fantastic. From the voice of a queer black American, some recurring themes are intimacy, art, religion, and trauma. "Whistler painted The Peacock Room / 140 years ago. Slavery had no been exised / from the Americas. I've wanted / to be hurt into gold." Damn. As with most poetry, you either feel it or you don't, but if you feel it enough you go back to read it over and over. That was me with "Black Docent." *I received a copy of this book from the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  4. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

  5. 4 out of 5

    Navjot

  6. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  7. 4 out of 5

    sidney

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ron

  10. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jose Diaz

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Arca

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ashley O'Leary

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  15. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

  16. 5 out of 5

    Luke Gorham

  17. 4 out of 5

    Loretta Gaffney

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gaurav

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cori

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lyd Havens

  21. 4 out of 5

    alex

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amy (literatiloves)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jan De la Rosa

  24. 5 out of 5

    Julien

  25. 5 out of 5

    SJ

  26. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

  27. 5 out of 5

    Melon109

  28. 4 out of 5

    Craig

  29. 5 out of 5

    Porsha Allen

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Liu

  31. 5 out of 5

    Liza Wemakor

  32. 5 out of 5

    Fern Pellerin

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