PositiveThe RumpusDerrick Austin’s second collection, Tenderness, is complicated, just like all good books of poetry are...complicated like the fullest possible range of emotion one can experience in fifty-some pages of poems ... Take the poem \'Late Summer\' ... I don’t know what word to use to describe the emotion coming from the end of this poem but I know I’ve felt it before, and that I’ve never seen it expressed this way before.
RaveThe RumpusHanif Abdurraqib...over and over again...takes an ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary ... There’s so much in this book to talk about ... There are thirteen poems in this collection all titled \'How Can Black People Write About Flowers at a Time Like This\' which probably deserve their own essay; there are poems in the voices of the ghost of Marvin Gaye; there are poems about divorce and the death of a parent and the many and various ways blood is spilled in this life.
PositiveThe RumpusMarwa Helal’s Invasive species would be worth reading if all it did was give readers a deep look at the United State’s complicated and deeply racist immigration system, which it does quite well ... The thing about invasive species is that they often thrive in their new environments, outcompeting the species already existing in that niche and creating a new ecosystem, no matter what humans try to do to stop them. And that’s the tone Helal strikes ... There’s amazing humor, killer craft and wordplay.
Justin Phillip Reed
PositiveThe RumpusI’m reminded of the ways Claudia Rankine, in Citizen, described not having it in her in the moment to challenge a colleague who’d said something racist, that she knew the same moment would come again no matter what she did right then, and how wearing that was on her ... Reed’s poems are full of this kind of movement and wordplay, and reward multiple readings ... Reed’s poems are also formally inventive, especially when he works in concrete ways on the page ... The reader winds up in a new place without realizing they were being moved there.