Cover Image: A Peculiar People

A Peculiar People

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Member Reviews

Believe it or not the greatest selling point to me was the fact that Nate Marshall recommended and reviewed this collection which is why I knew I had to request this ARC immediately. It did not disappoint. This collection is honest, versatile in subject matter, themes, writing, and voice. These poems are written in such a verse that had me floored more often than not. This is definitely for readers who enjoy Nate Marshall, Raymond Antrobus, Gary Jackson, and Jasmine Mans.
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This is a collection of poems that are centered around hip-hop, and how it influenced the author growing up. There are lots of poems about how it is being black growing up in an inner city. The author talks about the crime against black boys and black men and how the jail cell is where most will end up, due to how our society is today.

As a black woman myself reading this gave me a big insight on the constant trouble that my community is still facing today. I mostly fear for black men and black boys. I feel like they have it hard because our society and the media depicts them as dangerous, uneducated and violent and that’s not case.

As a mother to a young black boy I would like him to read this when he is older. This collection of poems has a great message and it keeps you thinking long after you’ve read it. I enjoyed it and I do see myself re reading it in the future.

Rating: 5 ⭐

**I want to thank netgalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read and review this for my own honest review and opinion***
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"Mother has always been a womb for revolution..." —Steven Willis
'Peculiar People,' is a beautiful collection of poetry on the author's experience as a black man. The vivid style in which he writes, makes people and places come alive on the page. 
After reading, I discovered many of the poems in spoken word form, on Youtube and was able to experience them anew through the author's performances. 
I didn't relate to all of the poems in the collection, but some of my favourites included, "This is Ebonics 101," and "A Scolding for the Brother, Dylan". 
This collection was a beautiful and flavourful addition to my Poetry Month explorations.
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Steven Antoine Willis is a performance poet and playwright whose work I’ve admired since his time as a slam team member at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

A Peculiar People reads like a love letter to the Black community. The language is bursting with reverence, reverie and respect for the Black experience from the pen of this Chicago native. I read the book from cover to cover as I was transported through the vivid imagery of watching wheel of fortune with grandma, pouring one out for the homies, crazy cousins and cleaning on Saturdays. Fans of Jasmine Mans Black Girl, Call Home will love this collection. 

I love the homage paid to Lucille Clifton in Wishes For The Rich. The poem written for Betty Wright, The Clean Up Woman Responds, reminding us of heartbreak as a right of passage. The dedication to the boys who once pushed mixtapes. Willis tells them: You are a forgotten holy. And the cultural celebration of all things Black like the way we turn our birthday celebrations into week long, month long jubilee’s and the fact that, yes, Ebonics is a full language. 

On the last day of National Poetry Month I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than to pick up this collection. Lovers of Hip Hop, Slam Poetry, Theatre, and readers who enjoy eclectic personal narratives will savor the technique of these poems.
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some raw talent and beautiful poetry
Steven willis is able to capture the rawness of systematic racism , more specifically the anti blackness that is continually ongoing in the US throughout his poems, highly recommend!!!!
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A varied yet cohesive collection of poetry. Intelligent, observant, insightful and powerful. A privilege to read and a collection I will definitely be coming back to to experience again. I look forward to reading Willis's future work.
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Really powerful. 100% Steven Willis is a poet to watch. No two poems are the same in this collection, yet they all speak to Willis' vivid POV of what it is to be a Black man in America. It is easy to hear his voice in the musicality of language he uses.  Highly recommend; I am a fan.
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Y’all. Steven Willis is GIFTED. This is some raw talent & vulnerable poetry. I had visceral reactions reading the poems. His book speaks to systemic racism & specifically anti-Blackness that is pervasive in the United States & in his home city of Chicago. I’m floored by his talent. You can HEAR the spoken word as you’re reading. And the dedications to activists & victims of police violence/the militarized state/white supremacy that are at the beginning of many of the poems… it’s powerful. I know this is a collection of poems that I’ll be revisiting. & I would absolutely go to a reading of his. Wow. Thank you for writing this & sharing your lived experiences, Steven Willis. 
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Happy National Poetry Month! Thank you to NetGalley & Button Poetry for the eARC of this book. Opinions are freely given & my own.
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There is a familiar echo in the voice of diaspora; no matter the variation of the sound, there is an understanding of the backbone that has shaped us all. It is systematic and inherent, and this book looks at this closely.

Starting with the charity of forms the poems in this collection take, it is clear Willis is versatile, taking known forms of lyricism and speech familiar to the black experience that interprets black personhood in the ways only we, as black people, can; lovingly, tormentingly and with an air of dignity. It is reverence in these words.

The gravity that exists to hold this book-centered and thematically consistent visits self-awareness of the black experience, its false gods, and systematic discrepancies have further pushed us down and out.

The imagery holds this collection afloat, painting familiar faces to the pieces that allow you to pull to the understandable forefront imagery, making these pieces stand out all the more. The ability for Willis to craft worlds that we have seen, on a television screen, in the papers, and bring it into your home to humanize it is stand out.

Highly recommend reading this. Thank you, Netgalley, for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I could practically hear the slam in this writing as I read it. Steven Willis crafts words with devastating beauty and tells so many stories in these poems. My favorite poems from the collection were county cousins and an honest question, but all of the poems in the collection were powerful and evocative. There is so much in words like: "you are a forgotten holy." I received an advance copy of this book through NetGalley.
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This was a solid book of poetry. The author had an interesting perspective which he shared eloquently.
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I found this collection really interesting, in part because I really liked a few of the repeated/reworked poems that threaded the collection together, but I had a hard time with some of the individual pieces in the context of the whole work.
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