Cover Image: The Willies

The Willies

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I am still new to poems and poetry as a whole so I am still not sure what I personally enjoy let alone what to recommend or how to really review a book such as this. 
So let me just be honest and you take from that what you what: 
I neither enjoyed or loved any of the poems in this book nor can I say that I "got" anything from them other than trying to understand why the tauthor choose to take hat specific style of writing fo ta specific story. 
But I didn't hate any of it either. They just where not what I am used to at all and becuse of that felt all very strange to me.

It's a bit of a strange read since I personally seem to enjoy the poetry that is rather fluent for a lack of abetted word, that has rythm  and even a bit of a rhym to it. This book doesn't really have Those. 

So I felt a bit like I was trying to understand a different language that I have a very basic understand of but not the depth of knowledge I need it understand what is actually Happening.

All this to say I would just give it a try. 
If you are a seasoned poetry reader I am sure you know more about this book than I am nad if you are a new discoverer as I am I would just give it a try! You never know until you do!
Was this review helpful?
What stunning poetry!!! I love watching Adam Falkner perform but these poems have the same impact when you read them!! I highly recommend them to ANYONE AND EVERYONE!!!
Was this review helpful?
I'm not much of a poetry reader. I'm aphantasic, which mean I don't really get anything from descriptive language, it takes me a long time to process it, and I don't really ~feel~ the vast majority of it. But I keep trying, because I think it's important to try and expand your horizons. I jammed with a good bit of the poetry in here, some of the themes... poetry I actually enjoyed, who'da thunk it.
Was this review helpful?
I found this collection quite interesting. as a queer individual I could relate to several of Falkners poems. Although I could not relate to his many poems about race, I could appreciate the writing. His poems are thought provoking and made you question many things. It wasn't one of my favorite collections but I feel like I learned something and might reach for this collection in the future.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks #NetGalley for the review copy of #TheWillies

I had a hard time getting into many of these poems, but the ones I liked all hit very deeply. "My Grandma Calls Me Barack" almost offhandedly describes the emotionally difficult experience of seeing a loved one go through dementia and all of the little signs that though they're physically speaking to you, their mind is in a different time and place. "Fishing the Little Pigeon" is about family legacies - the good and the bad. In this poem, a young boy goes fishing with his grandfather and sneaks a beer without really knowing what it is, then is scared to speak the truth because he doesn't want to ruin the fishing tradition, while a different family legacy (drinking) is unknowingly taking hold. 

That said, the overall collection was significantly more impactful and put-together than the individual poems themselves. Taken as a cohesive story or memoir, one can see the growth, challenges, insights, development of identity, etc. being told through all of these lines.
Was this review helpful?
This collection as it is read feels so cathartic, like it's being unleashed into the world and it makes for such pacey and riveting read as you fall into the words throughout this collection. How Falkner talks about himself being queer or the grief of losing someone, no matter the thought, he spills feeling withs his words and it makes for such captivating reading - how he can put how he feels into metaphors, is just beautifully done too (for example, 'I am suspended like a song trapped in a mason jar').

The style in which he captures his thoughts changes, how he uses different ways of writing really make you change how you think about what you are reading and that pulls you in deeper into his words and makes you connect further to the thoughts he has. I really appreciate the integrity of his words but also how the author wants you to read them too.

It hits you hard, it makes you feel the sadness and the hurt but it is done so beautifully throughout and it kept me reading until the very end.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars

This was such a lovely collection. It mainly focused on topics such as queerness, loss, alcoholism and white privilege. As it usually happens with poetry collections, there were some poems I loved and some poems I didn't really care much about. My favorite ones where definitely those that explored sexuality, growing up queer and coming out, and the ones about grief. They were very raw and a little heartbreaking and sometimes felt like a kick in the gut, but that's exactly what I'm always looking for in poetry, so they were perfect.

I loved how the author managed to use very colloquial language without making the poems sound lazy; they all had a certain rythm to them and flowed very nicely. I overall really liked his style; so even though I didn't adore the collection as a whole, it was still enjoyable, and definitely worth the read, and I do think I'm gonna revisit some of the poems in the future, as well as keep an eye on the author.
Was this review helpful?
I wanted to love this, but I just couldn't connect to it in the way I hoped to. A couple of the poems resonated with me, and Falkner is wonderful with his words, but I can't say this was a memorable read. Worthwhile, to be sure, but sadly it wasn't for me!
Was this review helpful?
Yes, I like how this collection was written with  all the angst and the emotions. This collection is all about the author's experience of being a writer, his sexuality and facing discrimination for the same and also about racism. I like how the author focuses on the people around him and the several issues that he had to face; losing his best friend and the grief he went through. The collection is really short. The words are deep and meaningful. Please do not rush through the words. Take it slowly. At times, it might be really difficult to get through some of the lines but somehow that's alright. 
I was expecting much more from this one. And it ended way too soon. 

Thanks #NetGalley for the copy of #TheWillies
Was this review helpful?
I cannot begin to understand or attempt to understand the struggles the author went through in their life. It is at points difficult to read, but well written. This is the story of a young mans life growing up with the struggles of people understand and coming to terms with him being gay, and the struggle he goes through To share this with those he loves. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Was this review helpful?
I am not really into poetry, but darn if I don't keep trying.  I enjoyed some of the poems, but it's still just not my favorite medium.
Was this review helpful?
i started this book with an open mind, but i ended up quite disappointed. many reviewers have mentioned that the collection touches on race as a theme, but really, it's about whiteness and grappling with black cultural appropriation. everyone has their journey and i don't want to undermine the individual work that the author may be doing, but the collection itself is unsuccessful in capturing the intricacies of this sensitive issue. the collection covers many other themes (queerness, alcoholism, mental health, etc) but i'm disappointed at how Black culture has been used to frame white guilt. a quick glance at the notes page reflects the myriad of Black cultural workers the writer borrowed lines from for this collection without really delving into the issue of privilege, institutional racism, and how power works within these contexts. without pondering the context in which the writer/speaker is making choices to perform blackness, the poems are flat and perpetuate the very concerns the poems attempt to subvert. i would not recommend this collection.
Was this review helpful?
Falkner's poetry was so vivid and entrancing I felt myself unable to put the collection down. It's a work that opens up to an array of themes and subjects such as coming out, race, growing up and family relationships, I'll be looking out for this book in stores and recommending it to anyone I think would be interested. 

Thanks to NetGalley, Button Poetry and the author of this collection for the opportunity to read this arc in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Adam Falkner has a way of painting a clear picture with just his words. Falkner explores his sexuality, alcoholism, race and white privilege, and his family relationships both past and present in this collection.
Was this review helpful?
Adam Falkner offers us a book that is beautiful, jarring, and speaks to valuable human experience. What more can you ask of a poet? There is much to consider and appreciate in this volume.
Was this review helpful?
The Willies is a collection of poetry by Adam Falkner, you may recognise his name and poetry from the Button Poetry YouTube channel. The text is split into three distinct sections, each dealing with an array of themes.

The first section covers suicide, constrained relationships with his father, the pain of hiding your sexuality, and white privilege. For me, the most interesting moment was the dissection of white privilege and the understanding that, as a white person, he can consume culture and has the power to either engage or retreat from it. He is not defined by what he engages with, whilst those within a particular culture are defined by it rather than who they are. 

Moving on, section two looks more broadly at loss, and builds upon the exploration of white privilege. In ‘If You Don’t Know’ there is a compelling moment which conveys what cultural appropriation is.

know very well who you are: tourist
walking circles in a city they did not
- 'If You Don't Know', p. 45

As we delve further into both this poem and the section, we see Falkner explore white guilt. He posits that if you situate yourself within black culture you can convince yourself that you are absolved from white guilt, but the reality is that it is a privilege that you can just step into a culture that is not your own. 

Section three again broaches the topic of loss, but also enters into acceptance. It is the reclamation of the life lost by queer people as we exist within a society designed to abhor us. To me, this section was the most empowering and emotional, but I would consider the prior section my favourite.

Whilst I did enjoy the majority of the poems, the references to Chris Brown and Drake were disappointing. I can’t understand why you would opt to include men who have actively abused women and engaged with minors in unacceptable ways.
Was this review helpful?
The Willies is a shockingly honest and raw poetry collection that dives into the depths of growing up queer and finding oneself and one’s identity. It bisects expertly with themes of grief and loss, grappling with familial acceptance, and learning how to accept oneself—even if the journey to get there is often laid on uneven ground. 

Between the lines of pining prose, lyrical quotes, and witty humor, Adam Falkner adds in sharp critiques of whiteness and his own white privilege. This collection is, if nothing else, potently autobiographical and refreshingly self-aware. If it is lacking anything, it’s the fact that Falkner could have explored the intersection of queer identity and whiteness farther. As it is, The Willies is a must-read collection of queer poetry, and an apt choice for fans who enjoy works similar to Mary Lambert’s Shame is an Ocean I Swim Across.
Was this review helpful?
This collection was phenomenal! I was extremely captivated by the writing, the cohesiveness of the poems as well as the quality of them. I loved the narrative and the exploration of race and sex and family and all the facets of relationships. Falkner did an incredible job.
Was this review helpful?
Modern, cryptic poetry.

I'm not sure i thoroughly understand every verse or is it just me?
I like the verses describing a gay man's life.

Button poetry is always good.
Was this review helpful?
*I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the free poetry collection*

In this collection, Falkner discusses themes such as coming out as gay, sexual awakening, suicide, family relations, white-guilt, and gender. I didn't like all of the poems, but some of them were well written, humbling, and intimate. Others were funny. For example "The Whitest Thing": Owning your own white guilt isn't cool / yet, so you stuff the soft parts of other kids' / cultures into your poeckets until you believe it is / not there. You are a matching sweat / suit jukebox stocked with everything / from Ice Cube to OutKast, entire albums / memorized and coiled in the dampf / of your mouth, gunfire into the fiar/ above the school parking lot --- and that / is as black as you think possible." (28)

The poems are very honest, some sad, not all offer consolation even though some do. 

3,5 stars
Was this review helpful?