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This Is the Honey

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Member Reviews

I love poetry and this was truly a captivating piece of work filled with so many amazing poets‼️ Kwame Alexander curates a collection of contemporary anthems at turns tender and piercing and deeply inspiring throughout. This Is the Honey is a rich and abundant offering of language from the poets giving voice to generations of resilient joy, “each incantation,” as Mahogany L. Browne puts it in her titular poem, is “a jubilee of a people dreaming wildly.”

Honey can symbolize many things from pleasure, sweetness, truth and knowledge. The title of this book fits perfectly because each poem was smooth, rich, and flowed like honey. Some poems were sweet, some a little sticky cause they definitely stuck with me, and the others will feed your soul. I was not only moved but I found so much substance within these words even a little humor.

Within this anthology we discover poets from our current time all adding a different flavor into the honey pot. Divided into six sections the collection addresses love, family, friendship, joy, culture, heritage, and so much more. Alexander refers to This Is The Honey as the in-between or a gathering space for Black poets to honor and celebrate.

Overall, loved this anthology highly recommended cause it was a must I purchase a physical copy. Whether you’re just getting into poetry, seeking a comfort read, or looking for new poems or poets This Is The Honey has something to offer everyone. Special thanks to the author & @littlebrown for my gifted copy‼️

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I loved this a lot. The poems collected here really were powerful and I thank Kwame Alexander for bringing them to me.

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WOW!

An amazing poetry collection. I cannot wait to own a physical copy of this collection. This is truly a collection of the best of the best.

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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.

This collection of poetry from Black authors is incredible. I highlighted so many passages from it. It is truly a work of art.

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Absolutely fantastic collection. Some parts are more hard-hitting than others (and which ones speak to someone the most will vary depending on the person), but it's absolutely worth a read/listen.

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Grippingly raw and beautiful—beauty in the pain, resilience, and hoping. This is the most moving collection of poetry I’ve read in a long time. Savor it. Read it again. Savor it some more.

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This one wasn't really for me, but I'm still very thankful to Little Brown and Company, Kwame Alexander, and Netgalley for granting me advanced digital access before publication day.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for a free E-arc in exchange for my honest review. This is the Honey is a poetry anthology edited by Kwame Alexander. It is divided into 6 sections: The Language of Joy, That's My Heart Right There, Where I'm From, Devotions, Race Raised Rage: The Blackened Alphabet, and When I See the Stars: Praise Poems.

Alexander prefaces the collection by saying: "This book is the in between. It's a gathering space for Black poets to honor and celebrate. To be romantic and provocative. To be unburdened and bodacious. The poetry in this collection is not us looking outward; it's an unbridled selfie. To marvel at. And reflect. It's for us. But also it is for you. The poems here are meant to inspirit, uplift, and rejoice. They are unapologetically matter-of-fact Black. Poems full of hope and humor and humanity of a proud people who hold the promise of tomorrow in their hearts."

And that is exactly what it does. It celebrates, explores, mourns, and captures the experience of life.

My favorite poems were:
- The Talk - Gayle Danley
- Love Letter to Self - Warsan Shire
- Figurative Language - A$iahMae
- The Blue Dress - Saeed Jones
- A Twice Named Family - Traci Dant
- Beloved, Or If You Are Murdered Tomorrow - Elizabeth Acevedo
- Where I'm From - Nikki Grimes
- Inundated - Hayes Davis
- Dear Future Ones - Jacqueline Woodson

I give the collection as a whole 5⭐ because I think there is something for everyone.

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If you want a poetry anthology of that will bring you the major contemporary Black poets, a broad selection of Black poets you might not have read yet but should, and enough timeless poems to keep you enriched for years, this is the book for you. This is the Honey: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Poets, edited by Kwame Alexander, brings poems of praise, poems of political awareness, poems of great historical breadth, poems of the kitchen table, love poems, wildly imaginative poems.

The anthology begins with a section of poems on joy, and moves into poems on identity, on spirituality, on race and rage, and ends with a section of praise poems. This arrangement moves the reader from joy to insight and history and understanding, and finally back to joy and praise. It’s a rewarding read with good challenges, good trouble, along the way.

The very first poem is Nikki Giovanni’s “Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea (We’re Going to Mars),” which is the single poem every person in this world needs most. It is a knock-out. The poem beckons NASA to look to Black people for help figuring out what to do when the astronauts “pull away from earth” and can no longer see it, because Black people have had this experience already, and sustained themselves with Billie Holiday, with “a slice or two of meatloaf and if you can manage it / some fried chicken in a shoebox” and of course “a bottle of beer because no one should go that far with- / out a beer and maybe a six-pack so that if there is life on Mars / you can share.” This is a poem of riches, built on an awareness of the cost, the loss, the rage, but focused on the riches.

Many of these poems are alive with the living history of all who have come before. They are not just remembered, they are present. In Reginald Harris’s “Reunion,” his sister “argues politics / with Martin and Coretta in the back yard / over ribs—Romare Bearden’s cooking—/Malcolm puts his two cents in between / bites of peas and rice.” A number of the praise poems bring role models and cultural icons and grandmothers into the present, ever-present, a warm kind of eternity.

The unabashed glory of celebrating the self rings through many of the poems. In Nicholas Goodly’s “R&B Facts” there is a hard acknowledgment that “If no black boys were murdered we / would have voices that speak in song / and the music we’d make would birth storms” – and then an insistence: “Melanin is a blessing / that is ours like gold / melting in our hands / Melanin is light on every / surface of the day / There is no color on earth / that is not some child’s favorite”.

It's a great anthology, one that I expect will be timeless.

Thanks to #netgalley, and #Little, Brown and Company for the ARC.

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✨ Review ✨ This Is the Honey: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Poets by Kwame Alexander

Alexander kicks off this poetry collection by acknowledging the frequency in which Black writers are "expected to write about the woe," but instead, this collection lives in the "in between." He explains, "it's a gathering space for Black poets to honor and celebrate. To be romantic and provocative. To be unburdened and bodacious. The poetry in this collection is not us looking outward; it's an unbridled selfie. To marvel at. And reflect. It's for us. But also it is for you." He continues, "The poems here are meant to inspirit, uplift, and rejoice. They are unapologetically matter-of-fact Black. Poems full of hope and humor and humanity of a proud people who hold the promise of tomorrow in their hearts."

The collection is organized in several sections: The Language of Joy, That's My Heart Right There, Where I'm From, Devotions, Race Raise Rage: The Blackened Alphabet, and When I See the Stars: Praise Poems. Each section brings with it a core theme and emotion.

The writers collected here range from legends like Alice Walker, Nikki Giovanni and Jacqueline Woodson to more recent favorites like Amanda Gorman, Clint Smith, and Elizabeth Acevedo.

Favorite poems included Reginald Dwayne Betts's "On Voting for Barack Obama with a Nat Turner T-Shirt On," which bursts with joy to Joshua Bennett's "Owed to the Plastic on Your Grandmother's Couch," which made me laugh, and "Stand" by Ruth Forman, which bursts with power.

More favorites included:
"Praise" by Angelo Geter
"My Poems" by Joanna Crowell
"We are Not Responsible" by Harryette Mullen
"Fuck / Time" by Inua Ellams
"The Blue Seuss" by Terrance Hayes
"Easter Prayer, 2020 A.C." by Frank X Walker
"I Could Eat Collard Greens Indefinitely" by Alice Walker
"Southern History" by Natasha Trethewey
"Dear Future Ones" by Jacqueline Woodson
"R&B Facts" by Nicholas Goodly
"Inundated" by Hayes Davis
"Beloved, Or If You Are Murdered Tomorrow" by Elizabeth Acevedo
"A Twice Named Family" by Traci Dant
"Want Could Kill Me" by Xan Forest Phillips
"How We Made You" by Kwame Alexander
"The Talk" by Gayle Danley
"Blood Memory" by Ronda Taylor

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Genre: poetry anthology
Pub Date: January 30

Thanks to Little, Brown and Company and #netgalley for the gifted advanced copy/ies of this book!

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#ThisIsTheHoney is a must read book!! The collection is beautiful and moving. I hope that the reader will savour this book and read it slowly to experience the fullness of this work. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves poetry. #NetGalley

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Rich anthology of Black poets, from Nikki Giovanni to Robin Coste Lewis to Clint Smith, Jericho Brown, Rita Dove, and beyond. There really is so much greatness here, and you can skip around through the book. I appreciated the mix of legendary/established poets and lesser known names. If you love poetry, you'll love this book. Thanks for the ARC!

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I never finished the book, but I’m gonna give it 2 stars. I wanted to started adding some books of and about POC onto my shelf, so when I found this book I thought “this will be perfect”. What I didn’t know in that moment is just how much I didn’t understand, and because I don’t understand anything about the topic, I don’t know how to comprehend it. Even in the first few poems alone, there is a lot of good information I didn’t know before especially about people’s feelings, I just couldn’t keep up, again, because I don’t understand much about the topics. This will definitely be a book I come back to once I get more of an understanding.

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For those familiar with some of this generation's greatest Black poets, "This is the Honey: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Poets" is practically a must-read experience.

Edited by Kwame Alexander, "This is the Honey" is a remarkable collection of poetry that practically demands repeated visits with a breathtaking and vibrant journey that ranges from angry to tender, inspiring to challenging and so much more.

"This is the Honey" features work from such poets as Alexander himself along with Rita Dove, Jericho Brown, Ross Gay, Morgan Parker, Amanda Gorman, Warsan Shire, Tracy K. Smith, Terrance Hayes, and Nikki Giovanni among many others.

At times, "This is the Honey" feels like a rally. Other times, it feels like a worship service. Still other times, "This is the Honey" feels like we're surrounded by family. The language is extraordinary here, immersive and abundant and remarkable in tone and atmosphere.

There's so much to love here and those who love language, cultural experience, and full-on immersion will be enthralled from beginning to end. At times, I found myself having to stop reading simply to let it all soak in.

Immensely moving and yet beautifully organized by Alexander, "This is the Honey" starts off 2024 with what is easily one of the first must-have poetry anthologies for the year.

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