Cover Image: Revenge Body

Revenge Body

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Member Reviews

Really sharp, biting poetry. Not as unique a voice as others by the same publisher, but still a very worthwhile read.
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3 stars       
               
Unflinching reflections on mental illness, body image issues, & fierce resilience. While some of the poems are not to my taste due to writing style, I very much appreciated the content & the poet’s approach to life.
 
[What I liked:]

•These poems have many vulnerable & relatable depictions of struggles with both mental illness & ADHD. As a person who deals with both, it was refreshing to find poetry that deals with these kind of subjects so unabashedly & openly. We need more voices speaking about stigmatized issues like these.

[What I didn’t like as much:]

•Many of the poems felt long & wordy to me. I prefer poetry that’s spare, focused, & more concise. This is a stylistic preference, though, & I’m sure other readers will like it more than me.

CW: sexism, mental illness, suicidal ideation 

[I received an ARC ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you for the book!]
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I would *love* to see Rachel Wiley live because I can see how these poems would crackle with electricity when performed.  But on the page they are a little bombastic, and over the top.  Good, but not in their element.
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Loved this.
Reminded me of Rupi Kaur.
Explores loss, anger, hate, body image and other difficult topics.
Very raw and honest.
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I appreciated the writing style and the topics within the poem collection, especially the ones about body image issues, mental health struggles, and white feminism. I especially enjoyed how she called out white feminists for not being inclusive enough and stated that intersectional feminism is the real kind of feminism, which I can get behind. As someone who is a queer woman of color, I can relate to most of her poems, with the exception of those discussing her experiences as a Black woman. I am an Asian woman and I love the title of the poem collection and how Revenge Body didn't just talk about getting a revenge body and was more holistic.
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I always struggle with reviewing poetry because it truly is such a personal medium. 

With that, I did enjoy this collection. I've been a fan of Rachel Wiley since discovering Button Poetry videos on YouTube; I think those with that experience will enjoy the collection a bit more - only because you can more easily hear the author's voice and style in your head while reading. 

This collection looks at identity, body image and weight, and mental health, and does not with wit, thought, and emotion.
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I've read my fair share of poetry in the last couple of years and I've enjoyed the majority of what I read. This one was no exception. It was a candid, raw and honest take on the author's personal experiences with mental health, being overweight, being queer and more. 

My only crituque was that I felt some of the poems dragged on longer than necessary and lost some of its impact as a result 

However, I connected with a lot of the poems in here and I would love to read more from this author. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an a-arc in exchange for an honest review.
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I'm not usually a big poetry person, but overall I quite enjoyed this collection. I would definitely read more of Wiley's work based on her writing here.
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This was honestly not my cup of tea, but I know a lot of people will really enjoy this style of poetry and the subject matters that are discussed. I like to really relate to and resonate with the poetry that I read, and I just didn’t get that from this collection. Big thanks to NetGalley & Rachel Wiley for giving me the opportunity to review Revenge Body early!
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Este poemario fue distinto a todos los poemarios que leí, tiene bastante diversidad y no se centra en un solo tema.
Definitivamente lo recomiendo si leiste a Amanda Lovelace o Rupi Kaur, tiene algunos poemas que son family friendly pero pasan rápido. Aun asi, podes conectarcon lo que lees.
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Not saying I didn’t enjoy this book, but it was not my favorite. I think this book gave a lot of information and good characters, but I cant help feel like something was missing. Whatever it was, it made the whole book seem off to me. Overall I did enjoy the book, and would probably recommend it to people
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I couldn't get into the poetry in this collection. It isn't a bad collection per se, just not for me unfortunately!
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Wiley’s collection of poems is very interesting ranging from heartbreak to feminism to the delicate relationship between her and her mother. I especially loved the one about Intersectional Feminism/White Feminism. Wiley says it like it is. While some of her poems didn’t quite resonate with me, I think this book has a little something for everyone.
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I always really love Rachel Wiley’s poetry so when I had the Opportunity to read this ARC through NetGalley I couldn’t resist it. 
I found so many poems relatable and I can’t wait to purchase a physical copy to mark up and highlight and take notes in. I loved it!
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This poetry collection was so personal and honest. I really enjoyed some, and just didn’t vibe with others. 

My faves were Peaches, Intersectional Feminism (aka actual fucking feminism) plays the dozens with white feminism and Poem for Susan (Boomer) Jenkins. Coincidentally, I have spent the last two weeks of my life binge-watching every single episode of Wentworth so the latter felt particularly timely. 

If you like reading poetry, or are just in the mood for some raw and honest truths, give this one a go.
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Review of Revenge Body by Rachel Wiley 
By Liv Pasquarelli


Revenge Body, Rachel Wiley’s 3rd volume of poetry recently published by Button Poetry. Wiley is a queer, biracial poet and performer and faculty member of the annual Pink Door Writing Retreat for women and nonbinary writers of color. 

Revenge Body is the type of book I dreaded ending because I did not ever want to stop reading it, cutting the cords of connection and identification that seemed to attach me to her words. Imagine my delight upon discovering that Wiley has two previous volumes of poetry: Fat Girl Finishing School (the NAME ya’ll) and Nothing Is Okay, both also published by Button Poetry. 

Never in my life have I highlighted so much of a book. At a certain point, I just gave up on highlighting since there were more lines highlighted than there weren’t. Wiley’s poetry reached deep into my chest and squeezed my heart in a way that made me laugh and cry. Her words held me in a way that made me feel seen and validated. Revenge Body set the record for the amount of times I said, ‘yup’, ‘mhm!’, and ‘that’s right’ out loud while reading.

“All the Pills I Tried Before” hit home for me as someone who has been on and off psychiatric meds since I was 14 years old. Turning pharmaceuticals into poetry is no easy feat, but Wiley does it beautifully. 

Certain points in the book I wondered if Wiley had someone stolen my life and written about it. I, too, have an older brother who is full of rage and violence, yet beloved, babied, and forgiven, time and time again, by my mother. In “What We Were,” Wiley traces the roots of her relationship with her brother back to childhood through to the person he has become and the break between them. 

“My brother grew up to be a magician, 
My brother grew up to be twice as angry as he was tall
and he got so tall. 
Spring loaded goldfinches always up his sleeves
and I, his assistant
cut down with a flourish, 
phantom sibling,
a dull ache at the severing point.
The days I forget I have a brother
are the same days I forget I was a child at all.” 

Rachel Wiley, Revenge Body, page 17

This poem made me wonder, do all sisters of first sons feel this way? Do we all feel cut down little by little until we disappear? My own brother cut me with his words from as early as I can remember, hissing ‘fat pig’ under his breath at the dinner table. The hardest part is the disbelief from my own mother when I went to her for help. Like in “The Mother Riddle,” my mother two turned up the volume on the television, both literally and symbolically, when the abuse was happening, and once again years later when I asked for the smallest crumb of acknowledgement. 

Wiley tackles intersectional feminism and the way current feminism is whitewashed in “Intersectional Feminism (AKA Actual Fucking Feminism) Plays The Dozens With White Feminism” and “White Feminism Watches The Color Purple” As both a feminist poet and a biracial poet, Wiley gifts us with a much needed perspective on the failings of modern feminism in a way that’s both hilarious and impactful. 

The way the writer weaves intersectional feminism with fatness is what makes this volume remarkable. The root of intersectionality is the fact that no single identity stands on its own. We are all complex people with many layers of identity, some visible, some invisible. Fatness and race are possibly the two most visible identifiers, making it impossible to move through the world without those around us letting us know how they feel about who we are, whether conscious or unconscious. In the poem “When The Fat Girl Stays Fat,” Wiley writes, 

“Once, I dared to enjoy an apple at a bus stop,
a large beautiful Honeycrisp apple, perfectly chilled, 
and a car veered across two entire lanes of traffic to splash 
my fat body with shame for being seen eating
anything at all.”
Rachel Wiley, Revenge Body, page 34

When it comes to having a body society deems unacceptable, many find it perfectly fine to make their distaste known. From my own father to strangers on the street, my body has been criticized, shamed, and faulted. I have been slandered under the gaslit shroud of ‘concern for my health.’ I know the fear of eating in public, at a restaurant, seeing others turn to gawk when the waiter brings our dishes, waiting to see what the fat girl ordered. Depending on what it is, they will decide whether I am shamelessly gorging myself day in and day out, or dieting. Either way, they will assume that the food I ordered that evening is a decision that leads directly to my unruly, fat body. 

It is hard to put into words the way these experiences make me feel, but Rachel Wiley does it beautifully, line by line. She is the fearless gut punch the world needs, intersectionality defined, a sweet and shameless cupcake, and most importantly, an incredible writer. 

To close, here are the closing lines from one of my favorite poems in Revenge Body: “Praise to The Longest Night of The Year”

“Praise my therapist.
Praise the universe and its divine clownery.
Praise the chosen family who stay choosing me back.
Praise the mothering in me despite it not coming from her.”
Rachel Wiley, Revenge Body, page 63
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OMG this book! Thank you netgalley and button publishing for an arc of Revenge Body. I can’t remember the last time I read a book that made me feel seen, heard, understood. Rachel has a special way of looking at what it’s like to be human, these poems feel like they are under a microscope allowing them to feel larger than life.. These poems will stick with you long after you’ve finished the book. I know I’ll keep them close and revisit them again and again. A stunning collection.
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This is my first exposure to Rachel Wiley, and I have to say I was hooked from the very start. 

Before I even get to the writing, I adore the structure of this book, the clear layout of themes and the integration of quotes. I also love the choice of black pages at the beginning on sections!!

Now onto the poetry. Some of my favorites:

New Moon, Who This? This poem will stay with me for the rest of my life as advice from one woman struggling in society to another. Sometimes it can be hard to let go, but we need to. 

Executive Functioning This put my jumbled brain into words. I feel so much less guilty because of these words. 

Ghost Me, I’ll Write Your Eulogy Catharsis!! I laughed, but I also deeply felt the hurt expressed under the humor. 

These are just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much gold in this collection, everyone should read it.
 
The poetry is pretty accessible in my opinion. Lines can be long at times, and there are few really short poems, but it’s all very readable (and re-readable!). There are also many different structures of presentation, which can help break up the read to not feel monotonous. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Button Poetry for providing access to this book in exchange for my honest review!
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This was a fierce collection of poems. Read all together, they made me feel like I'd spent a few days talking to the author, or maybe like I'd eavesdropped on her deeper conversations.
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Thank you Netgalley and Button Poetry for a review copy of this book 
I honestly love this poet. She is so thoughtful and intense with her words. I related so much to her poems about self love as well as her friends struggle with suicide. I really loved this book
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