Cover Image: Grocery Shopping with My Mother

Grocery Shopping with My Mother

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Member Reviews

Not as sure about this one... I really liked the way Powell structured the collection like an album: with side 1, side 2, and four bonus "tracks." Most of the poems themselves felt kind of repetitive and too encompassing. Things like "shorttallfatskinnydamaged bodies" were repeated often (not just about bodies but other traits) and while I understand and commend the intention to be all-inclusive, the poems ended up feeling very general because I wasn't reading about anything specific! (I don't think this practice was bad in itself, but it could've been employed less often.) I do think I might've enjoyed these more as spoken word!

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I absolutely loved how everything was laid out which is really half of the battle when laying out a book like this. I hope to read more from Powell.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this collection that managed to be heartfelt and also hard-hitting simultaneously. Definitely a must read.

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A lovely collection of poetry! The author pens with sincere emotion that touched and connected with me as a reader. Dope set up with sides 1 and 2 and an array of topics that speak to Powell’s experiences. Grocery Shopping with My Mother and letter to bell hooks were my favorites.

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**I was provided an early ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

This is a very powerful collection with poems that are emblematic of the culture and time when they were written. I found the more personal poems, especially the titular piece, to be the most compelling. It didn't surprise me that most of these poems were originally online, with the structure of most pieces using shorter lines, with more repetition to keep packing a punch that works well if you are reading while scrolling. It really does help encapsulate the pandemic era with everyone trying to reach out and be heard while stuck inside. These online origins did have the downside, since the poems didn't always feel like they were working together as a collection. Some of the repeated motifs, Shakespeare and southern comfort food stuck out to me in particular, while great in one poem, starts to feel like a generic descriptor by the fifth since it's often doesn't have a different function than in the previous poem, but also not nodding to that piece's similarity. Overall, this is a collection that shows the energy of social justice in 2020 in all it's urgency and anger, but also makes room for some really tender and open moments that are the true stars of the show.

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Beautiful poems that speak to his family but other artists who inspired him. A collection of poems to be savored. I liked the ones about his mother and aunt and how history affect their lives and his relationship to them.

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I like this collection. My favorite poems from the collection were "Grocery Shopping with My Mother," "September 11," and "Son2Mother." They were so powerful and stood out so much from the other poems.. This entire collection showed so much emotion. I did not enjoy every poem as much as the three that I mentioned.

*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my ARC of the book. All opinions are my own. *

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Grocery Shopping with My Mother by Kevin Powell is a poignant and vulnerable collection that is born of a son's love for his mother as the two transition into a new phase of life. Presented with a heavy lean toward cultural and iconic references, Powell's voice rings out loud and clear, and one can feel the emotional and personal connections to time and place. Most significantly, I believe, these poems will continue to resonate.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Catapult, Counterpoint Press, and Soft Skull Press for an ARC.

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//4 stars

thanks to netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

this shit was POWERFUL! not only a love letter/giving forgiveness to his mother, but also a social justice commentary on feminism, racism, his growing up, his experiences. i loved it.

i love when poets/authors are vulnerable, they write what they know and they put it out into the world and this was just that. i hate to be like "ooohh, it was so RAW" but it was. i highlighted so many lines and poems throughout that book that just made my heart shrink and swell and do somersaults.

a few:

"ayy, ayy, yeah, i was gifted photocopies of your feminist
candied yams
the way my ma shoplifted
reparation pennies so we could eat,"


"we are protesters pepper-sprayed with knees on our necks
we them people"

and and and

"means being as endangered
as this old rickety Earth
means being as dangerous
as the imagination
of someone-anyone
who wants black boy and black men to consider suicide"

Powell's poetry is enormous, that's what i think. his voice is HUGE, im curious what goes through his brain on the daily.

this was lovely and i'd recommend it, i really do.

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I had a difficult time connecting with this collection. I really enjoyed the first two poems about grocery shopping with his aging mother — they were insightful and poignant.

The rest of the poems were unfortunately hit or miss for me. I did particularly like “For V (formerly Eve Ensler),” “Our Mothers,” “For You,” and “Love,” but most of the others didn’t have much of an impact. I can see why they did well on social media as individual pieces but I don’t think they necessarily played well together as a collection.

Overall I’m giving three stars because I strongly suspect I wasn’t the ideal audience for this. Other readers will probably get more value from it.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!

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This is apparently Powell’s return to poetry after not having written it for several decades, and honestly, this is impressive for that alone. There’s a lot of fear and tenderness here, especially in the poems about grocery shopping with his mother during the pandemic and her recovery. Lots of odes to Black cultural leaders. Definitely worth checking out.

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K in Powell writes poetry with a strong voice.He shares his life his experiences with the pain the emotions the feelings he experienced.#netgalley #catapult

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Solid batch of poems. Nice cadence and lots of pop culture references. I didn’t love the format, it was hard to read and know when it was a new poem.

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From the description of this book, Powell's poems gained an audience in a social media context. Certainly, the atypical practice of adding a date and time to each entry renders them as sourced in a place that I don't encounter much in my own reading of poetry. These small details make sense in the raw vulnerability of the subjects Powell encounters and the conversational manner in which the poems are written. In many ways, I felt as if I were reading the poet's writing notebook as opposed to a polished collection of poems, but they served in this way well--there is depth and urgency to the topics Powell takes on.

The first poem comes from the title, and it's the strongest in the collection for me. Other poems in the collection take on celebrity and didn't feel as surprising as the one about being a son to a strong woman in decline.

In the end, this collection wasn't for me, but I recognize and appreciate how it can appeal to a new collection of readers and hopefully draw them in to a range of voices in poetry--Rossy Gay, Ntzoke Shange, Jericho Brown, Yusef Komonyakaa, June Jordan, Rita Dove, Nikky Finney, Claudia Rankine, Danez Smith...

Thank you to NetGalley for an Advanced Readers Copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Kevin Powell brings us into a vulnerable part of his life with beautiful poetry and prose. Poems about taking care of his sick mother during the Covid19 pandemic, poems about Black Lives Matter protests, poems about music and family, and so so much more. Set up as a record with a side A, a side B, and bonus tracks, this gorgeous collection takes us into the deep emotion of Powell and the way he interacted with the ups & downs of living.

His writing is very free-thought/verse and is written in AAVE (African American Vernacular English) which only lends to the experience of reading more. His tempo and meter throughout are quick and refreshing, matching to your heartbeat as you read along. A very visceral and personal read.

My favorite poems are: "Hope Wanted", "We Them People", and "Reality Check."

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Good poetry makes you feel something. The words don't just tell a story, they evoke some sort of emotion. Although I have never walked in Kevin Powell's shoes, I was given the gift of seeing and feeling his world through his words.

The poem call him D-Nice was one I went back to a few times, the imagery was wonderful.

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Grocery Shopping with my Mother is a collection of poems that are insightful and powerful. Some of the poems confront the struggles that Powell's mother faced in raising him, as well as their complex and sometimes abusive relationship. I really liked the cultural references, as Powell writes numerous poems to famous black figures, like the Notorious BIG and female performers. I really enjoyed his style of writing, it packed a punch.

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Thank you netgalley for this ARC. Honestly its really hard for me to get into alot of poetry but this book was amazing. I loved how vulnerable the author was in sharing these poems and i loved so many of the poems regarding people from history past present etc. I LOVED the cicely tyson one alot. The messages behind so many of these poems are super important. I loved all the musical icons that were mentioned in this novel as well. For V was such a powerful poem. Out of all the poetry books i have read this one definitely has been one of the best i cant express how much i loved these poems. The kobe poem was also so powerful as well. Another thing about the poems being dedicated to certain people also means alot of readers will enjoy it especially if you are fans of the people listed in this book. You can tell the author put so much heart into this novel at so many times this book was so vulnerable regarding people the author knew. Loved all the NY poems. The dedication poem to mothers also were amazing. Everything about this book was amazing the representation in this book was amazing as well. if you like poetry read this one! Definitely a 5 star.

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Kevin Powell's collection of poetry Grocery Shopping with My Mother marks the influential moments in his life, taking the reader through his family, his trauma, his loves, and the influences that made him who he is.

Powell's writing truly stuck with me because of how personal it all was in unique ways. Some poems were love letters, some were forgiving, and some were speaking of injustices in America or that Powell has faced in his own life. No matter which, though, each poem felt natural in its sophisticated nature in which it was written; I felt like I was walking around New York and hearing Powell's connections to each landmark and place while reading.

Tupac and Biggie and his letter to bell hooks were hands down my favorite. Each poem was so personal, but there are certain topics and people you can tell are deeply personal to an author.

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A journey through Kevin Powell’s mind, grief; and childhood trauma. I enjoyed how powerful his writing was throughout the whole book. The messages of each poem were clear and concise which I appreciated.

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