Cover Image: Anodyne

Anodyne

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Member Reviews

I think I was not the right reader for these poems right now.  They are dense; staccato in language and sad and they probably reward close reading and they just didn't connect with me right now.  I could get glimpses of the emotion and stories behind the language but I'm not in a place where this particular type of language virtuosity worked for me.
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“I slept in the palm of my own Black hand” 

This is a collection of poems so person to the author, that address being Black as a lived experience in every moment. The language was beautiful, sometimes I had to sit with a poem for hours before I could begin to understand. It’s clear this author is creating something they want to create, and I loved this experience!
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Most of these poems aren’t my cup of tea, and that’s ok. I had a hard time connecting, the flow didn’t work for me. The poems I did like I REALLY liked — Synesthesia, Reclusionary, NJ Transit Passenger Ode, Double Life, I Slept When I Couldn’t Move. I Slept When I Couldn’t Move made the entire book worth reading. The second half was much stronger for me than the first. I plan to read more of Queen’s work after this.

Thanks to #NetGalley and Tin House for a copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to Tin House and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader's Copy!

Available Aug 18 2020

From the talented Khadijah Queen comes another sharply observed, generous and deeply heartfelt inventory of the soul. Ranging from love poems to mental health to politics of NJ Transit, Queen has a way of transforming the ordinary into light and dark, creating quiet spaces of reflection in an often too loud world. I can't do her work any justice other than to say that it acts as an anodyne, or painkiller, for the soul.
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I never know how to talk about poetry, just that it feeds something deep within me, that it feels vital and nourishing. I loved the poems in Khadijah Queen’s Anodyne (forthcoming Aug 18th) for their quiet insistence. I appreciated the varied structures that the poems came in and all the topics covered: family, work, Black expectation, age, love, etc. Poetry is the best kind of window and Queen’s collection shines as one. Plus, I knew it would be a good book when I saw it was framed by a Kendrick Lamar quote 🎶 Also, check out that gorgeous cover.
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An interesting and complex collection of poems that span a variety of topics in innovative ways. There is a strong voice in these poems and there were several that drew me in.
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This beautiful book of poems captured that ideal balance of making the personal feel universal. Some of the poems felt fragmented, but the language was so beautiful all the way through. Many of her poems felt especially relevant and important during this time of crisis in the US.
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This is a bad-ass book by a bad-ass poet. Despite the promise of comfort in its name, this book offers no easy respite from the everyday terrors of life. These are full-throated poems that still somehow carry many trace of delicacy on their bodies.
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Poetry doesn’t do that well in our collection and this is perhaps a little too out there for our readers. I do adore Tin House though!
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