Cover Image: Patricide


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

*I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Harris’ debut is a chilling, complex glimpse into black masculinity of African Americans, tackling both its fragility and its strengths, and the construction and deconstruction of its roles. The narrator is angry, but the violence is an active verb, a continuous present action: thinking and pondering and searching; a genuine voice that makes the pain tangible. The narrator is angry, yes, but he’s honest first and foremost. “Patricide” is about black boys chasing after the ghosts of their absent fathers, and about the legacies of slavery and racism and institutional violence. This is a deeply personal book, so much so that I kept thinking I was reading a memoir in verse, getting to peruse private missives between a writer and his journal. 

I felt a lot reading this book, and found myself in a constant state of unsettling worry. Many of the poems made me nauseous, the visceral reaction leaving something sour and vile behind. But whenever present, the sickly aftertaste —the raw pain—felt intentional and carefully constructed. Fair, I thought, because feeling sick to the bones is the reaction racial inequality should unequivocally evoke. I found myself punched by one allegory after the other, but I wanted to keep reading. I wanted to know more. Wanted to keep looking into an experience so removed from mine, only solemn silence seemed an adequate response at many, many points. 

Harris presents the worst of these experiences without fanfare, and he will make you think.

"…All my heroes were evil once. 
But at least they returned in time for dinner. 
Imagine that. All it takes to be a good man
is to come back."

“…I long for 
specificity. African-

American is so infinitely 
vague. I stopped believing 
in god because god is

an imprecise metaphor. An absent

“…There’s nothing
to art but imagination. Everyone has that.
Think about it. The wallet is a gun. The cellphone
is a gun. The hand raised and open is a gun.”

I wholeheartedly recommend “Patricide” to fans of Button’s poets and spoken poetry. To those unsure about this type of contemporary poetry, I insist: Give this —and similar books— a chance.

Trigger warnings: gun violence, racial injustice, homophobia, and police brutality.
Was this review helpful?
This was an interesting and thought-provoking poetry collection. One of the major themes was growing up as black in the US, which is far from easy at times and it's refreshing to hear voices talk about such themes.
Was this review helpful?
"There's nothing to art but imagination. Everyone has that. Think about it. The wallet is a gun. The cellphone is a gun. The hands raised and open is a gun. He reached for the paintbrush and drew: BANG! A child died on canvas."

Dave Harris’s Patricide is a poetry book about growing up black in America and people whom you don't want to turn into and a mother's love. It's richly worded and achingly heartfelt. It is rare for a poetry book to have every single poem hit home. But Patricide was breathtakingly close. It's beautiful and raw and painful at times, but it's honest. 4.5/5

"All my heroes were evil once. But at least they returned in time for dinner. Imagine that. All it takes to be a good man is to come back." 

(Thanks NetGalley for providing an advanced readers copy in return for an honest review.)
Was this review helpful?
Great work done and characterisation done by the author. Look forward to reading more by this author.
Was this review helpful?
This collection has made me uncomfortable so many times - and sometimes, that's what is intended. I did enjoy reading some of the poems, but not all, and perhaps it comes to a personal preference. I feel like the delivery of some of these poems depends on the tonality and performance of a spoken poet, and may not come across in their fullest vitality on paper.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC if this book. I really enjoyed these poems. I definitely would purchase this for my book collection.
Was this review helpful?
Dave Harris is phenomenal. Have you ever read some poetry or even prose that has just stepped into your soul and shaken it about? Patricide is that poetry collection. As a white person, I can’t even begin to comprehend the pain in this poetry collection. But Dave Harris’ power over his words and truth is undeniable. I stopped numerous times during reading as I was stunned by the precision of his words.
Was this review helpful?
This one just wasn't for me. I'm not vibrating on the same wavelength as it or something. I just review books on Goodreads, and I generally don't give a review or a rating there if I can't give a good one. So I'll send this back to you, rather than put a negative or ho-hum vibe out there on a book that others for sure will enjoy. I hope that's ok!

I just joined NetGalley, and this is the second book I've read/reviewed (the first was yours also, Desiree Dallagiacomo's Sink, which I really enjoyed and reviewed very positively on Goodreads). 

I really thank you for the opportunity to read this. I love Button poetry.

Warm wishes,
PS ugh it's making me a give a star rating, I'd rather not, but ok, (done).
Was this review helpful?
Patricide [noun]: the killing of one's father/ the crime of killing your own father

I think Button poetry have perfected the art of knowing which buttons to push, when and how much, just to elicit a response in their readers. In this collection, Dave Harris takes you through a journey that feels like one he ought to make on his own without an audience, a journey into his own awareness, forgiveness and understanding of what it means to be who he chooses to be-and at the root of it lies an absent father, life of fear, lack, anger, and a rage that he fears but thrills him.

Perhaps the most important question he asks all through this collection is "Who's after me?" and suddenly you cannot help but want to read the entire collection again.

Thanks Netgalley for the eARC.
Was this review helpful?
Patricide is Dave Harris's powerful story about becoming a good man despite who his father is, when growing up black in America is anything but easy. I would definitely recommend this to fans of modern poetry.
Was this review helpful?