God Themselves

Narrated by Jae Nichelle
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Pub Date 14 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 14 Apr 2023
Andrews McMeel Audio, Andrews McMeel Publishing

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Let this book be a celebration of queerness, Blackness, and love. Let these words be a modern church, these poems a holy space.
Rising star and spoken word poet Jae Nichelle debuts her luminous thoughts in God Themselves, a new collection of stirring poetry. Nichelle taps into her experiences of growing up in the South as a queer Black woman to courageously confront the effects of a forced religion and the inherent dangers of living life in a female body. God Themselves is divided into three equally moving sections: Everything, Everywhere, and Love. Nichelle braids her wisdom––as seen in the poem “What to Do When There’s Nothing You Can Do”––and witty generational humor––seen in "Sanctity: An Exposé"––into every poem. If you’ve ever contemplated who, what, and where God is, find comfort in these words.
Let this book be a celebration of queerness, Blackness, and love. Let these words be a modern church, these poems a holy space.
Rising star and spoken word poet Jae Nichelle debuts her luminous...

A Note From the Publisher

We regret this E-galley is not available for Kindle viewing.

We regret this E-galley is not available for Kindle viewing.

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format, Unabridged
ISBN 9781524885878
PRICE $8.99 (USD)
DURATION 1 Hours, 38 Minutes

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (AUDIO)

Average rating from 46 members

Featured Reviews

I love poetry slams. And that is exactly what we get from this audiobook. It’s beautifully written and beautifully performed. You have a series of poems that voice being queer, a black woman, childhood, religion, And more. I highly recommend this audiobook. Thank you NetGalley for the chance to experience and review this audiobook.

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I loved this collection. It was beautiful and raw and captivating. I loved the way the author explored complicated experiences, relationships, and emotions—some I could relate to, and some I could not—in a way that made me FEEL in the moment. Poetry is different for everyone, but that’s my primary goal.

The audiobook was gorgeously narrated. I think there were a few pieces with visual elements that were meant to be read on the page, but overall I didn’t find that took too much away. Worth it to hear poetry from the author, to feel like we’re in her group chat or standing next to her.


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A book full of so many moving, beautiful, painful poems/words. Some I can understand and relate to and that broke my heart for us both. Others I will never be able to and that too breaks my heart.

The injustices of this world are far too many and I’m one of the lucky ones to miss most of them. I’m sorry to Jae and all the others who face it far too frequently and have for far too long. My “I’m sorry” will never be enough but thank you for using your incredible talent to bring them to the forefront and ask people to listen.

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When it comes to poetry, I'm not skilled at saying what I do and do not like about it. I can simply say if I did or did not like it at all. And I did like God Themselves, especially appreciating the sound production on the audiobook, which added different effects as transitions. The narrator has a great voice for poetry, and I was glad to have the chance to listen to it as it was supposed to be read.

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*Thank you to Netgalley, Andrews McMeel Publishing, and Jae Nichelle for the advanced listeners' copy of God Themselves*

I was initially unsure if this book would be for me, as I am not a Christian myself and don’t believe in a Christian God, but I was curious because of the title, and upon checking the summary I found out that it was written by a queer person so I wanted to give it a try. A poetry collection exploring religion, this did a fantastic job of unpacking and feeling through different aspects of being a queer person in any religious system. While I would not say this book is by any means secular, I also think a lot of the discussions are interesting and can apply to different belief systems. It feels like an examination of what religion can mean, and a different way to view and conceptualize religion in your life. By no means is it prescriptive or advice-giving though, it is about the very specific experience of a Black queer woman living in the South and the more personal it gets the more applicable it reads. This is beautiful religious poetry in the tradition of Rumi, rather than the kind of Christian nonfiction that I grew up with. All of this to say, I loved this book and would encourage checking it out if the description at all interested you. I know I will be keeping my eye out for a physical copy to add to my shelves.

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This is a beautiful collection of poems that are, at times, humorous and relatable, while also being poignant, provoking and smart. I truly enjoyed the audiobook and recommend it in that format, if accessible.

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The book of poems feels like home. By that I mean it feels comfortable, safe, relatable. These poems remind me of the thoughts that fill my mind. The feeling in my soul. These are the conversations I have with my friends. There are so many pieces to this that would resonate to my students.

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Thank you NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

God Themselves is a fantastic work of poetry. The author did a great job of creating poems that are both humorous and powerful. Nichelle's work is original and gives a unique perspective on life as a queer black woman.

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I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed every second. It’s the definition of “I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me.”

Nichelle covers every facet of life: childhood, family, friendships, church, spirituality, sexual awakening, love, failed relationships, feminism, queerness, Black joy, Black trauma, technology, nature, healing, self-actualization, everything.

She pairs God with mundanity, like group texts. She pairs humans with the divine. There’s something so relatable and raw and real and rhythmic and riveting about the way Nichelle carefully words her poetry.

One of my favorite poems is “Barefoot Duplex” and below is an excerpt:

“I dream up a life we could have. /
oh, how much living we could do /
if not for those who would kill us /
it kills me those who are not for us /
heaven is so far, they say.
I say, so far, heaven is /
us going nowhere else when we get home.”

I cannot recommend this book enough. I will be bugging my library to get a physical book or an audiobook because I need people to read this. 10/10 instant classic.

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Format: Audiobook courtesy of netgalley, but views are my own.


Content warnings are included in the audiobook narration.

Nichelle taps into her experiences of growing up in the South as a queer Black woman to courageously confront the affects of a forced religion and the inherent dangers of living life in a female body.


The narration is beautiful, I think this kind of writing needs the voice of the author. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a poetry collection before either, so it was an interesting experience. I could see myself listening to something like this while doing self care (I didn’t, I listened to it at work which probably wasn’t ideal.)

The writing is beautiful and accessible, it isn’t overwritten/overproduced. It’s the kind of poetry non-poetry readers could find themselves in.

It is also dealing with real, lived experience, and I find this very compelling.


I think the poet could push herself more, really go there with the points she is making. Be daring, be accusatory. But that is really a personal choice.


Really easy to recommend this, especially if you tend to avoid poetry!

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God themselves is a poetry collection about religion, Life, being queer, being black. I loved listening to the audiobook. It was narrated perfectly by the author. It didn’t bore me at all.

I highly recommend.

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I was provided an audio arc of this book via Netgalley, all options are my own. I kept seeing the cover of this and was immediately drawn to the book. I kept coming back to it and knew I needed to read it. I’m so glad that I did.

I really enjoyed this poetry collection. I really enjoyed that it was narrated by the author. I feel poetry is often more impactful when spoken and who better to speak it than the author. Her voice was a pleasure to listen to. As the author mentions in intro some of the poems are meant to be viewed as they have a visual impact. The audio is supposed to have a pdf for these poems, but I was able to grab a print copy from my library and follow along with the audiobook. There are some really cool visual poems in the print version but I really enjoyed listening to Nichelle speak her words.

This covers a lot of different topics and the length of the poems varies from a few words to a few pages. I found myself reflecting on many of the poems and you can really feel the author’s emotions and experiences in each of the poems. As you can tell my the title that there is a focus on God and religion throughout, so I would stay away from this collection if that is not your cup of tea. I didn’t feel it was preaching anything or disrespectful, only a reflection on the author’s own experience and feelings. This is geared toward a more audience based on some of the content and language.

Overall this was a solid collection and I’m so glad I followed my instincts to grab a copy of the audiobook. I was not disappointed with this beautiful collection of poems.

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God themselves
By Jae Nichelle
Collection of poems showing diverse problems and strengths in the black community. A single voice showing the constraints of being black, gender fluid, ND young in a community that celebrates and restrains itself inconsistently. Dynamic, truthful, inspirational for young readers to not only find they have a voice but that expression lessons the problems.
Great book for looking at poetry and pov and showing inner struggle and resolve.

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March 16, 2023

* Book review *
Genre: poetry
published March 2023
Rating: ***** 5 stars!
Synopsis: This is a poetry anthology. The author discusses difficult life situations like sexual assault, racism religion, heartbreak sexuality, misogyny and more.
Thoughts: I really enjoyed this poetry anthology. I listened to the audiobook and is was so atmospheric it felt like I was legitimately at a poetry slam! The writing as lyrical and really drew me in and I couldn't put this one down I read it in 1 sitting. Jae Nichelle is truly talented and I will be reading her other collections.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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God Themselves is a collection of poems that includes Jae Nichelle's experiences growing up in the south, and religion. Nichelle weaves religious symbolism, imagery, and traditions/rites into her poems - in a way that transcends the traditional views of religion - with everyday imagery (like in "Elevator" or "Jesus Saves"), her Black community, traumas, mental health, and sexuality.
I listened to the audiobook because the e-arc wasn't working on my device (only a few poems actually loaded properly). Listening to this in Nichelle's voice felt like a more intentional way of absorbing the poetry because of the tone, rhythm, and cadence of the author. Some of my favorites: "Black Girl Catholic," "Three Churches Burn in Louisiana," "We Create Our Own Coming of Age" (visually, I loved this), "Tangible Heaven," and "This Was Written." It was hard to choose as there were days when I read/listened where the poem just really hit at that moment and some I had to re-listen to. I feel like it's always a bit challenging in rating collections of poetry because there are so many different styles, many have to be read aloud, and the rhythm is so important in how you receive the works.

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These poems are touching and moving. They’re easy to feel and digest and I thoroughly enjoyed them.
I think the ones I love the most were…👇
What you can choose about your body.
Prayer as edited by Uncle Ruckus.
And this contains nakedness. ♥️♥️

Thanks NetGalley for the opportunity to listen to this beautiful poetry.

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I loved this book.. It was a netgalley audio book and I found myself wishing I was reading it so I could underline and take pictures to post of lines she read. It was gorgeous writing and I'm tempted to go out and buy the book I loved it so much! Definitely 5 stars!

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There is a strength in woman's point of view. There is a power in her words. There is a sensitivity in a way how she portrays everything, yet there is also raw truth to facts that should not be sugarcoated. That's how I felt about this collection of poems about Black experience, that opens eyes even wider to life so different from mine. I loved how the author connected her own intrinsic world with the outside one, there were connections made that showed how one influence the other and how our mind can perceive some simple things on another level and that gave even more meaning to the experience of being a human. I recommend it to anybody who loves poetry!

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The audiobook of God Themselves read by the author Jae Nichelle is an amazing experience. The audio recording is of high quality and Jae Nichelle shares her poetry with the pacing and intonation she intended for each piece.

Poetry is personal, and the poems in this collection share very personal experiences, emotions and thoughts.

The content warnings at the beginning are important to review.

There were many snippets from the poems that stood out such as her thoughts on there being a 'first time' for everything, and letting her phone autofill the poem.

Jae Nichelle has a way with words to concisely but also vividly express herself and I highly recommend God Themselves.

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This is an excellent use of the audiobook format--the author reading her own work reflects her spoken word performances and the scoring/sound effects add much to the experience of listening. A gorgeously queer look at life in the South as a gay Black woman.

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I don’t read a lot of poetry but I enjoyed this! The audiobook is excellent, absolutely would recommend in this format.

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I have never really read poetry. I did enjoy this book though! I liked the intersection of her life, religion, and experiences. It’s very real and down to earth.

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listening to this one on audio was the MOVE (why am i not listening to all of my poetry on audio?!?) -- powerfully written AND powerfully spoken, this collection was relevant and moving, striking and fresh. i especially loved the prayers through predictive text poems, as they felt both endearing and really human.

i'll definitely be reading more from Jae nichelle in the future!

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ARC audiobook provided in exchange for an honest review.

I really liked this collection of poetry! The narrator does an amazing job and I love how they have music and different sound effects when the poetry calls for it. This collection shows life and struggles through the eyes of a black woman coming into her own. They’re very raw and real, an easy listen that really makes you think. There’s also a lot of religious aspects to the poetry, which I didn’t mind at all, but some might. If you like listening to poetry, I’d definitely recommend checking out this book!

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This is a beautiful collection of poetry. I love the exploration of a relationship to God and to the church. It was beautifully relatable poetry.

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Phenomenal! This perfectly captures what it’s like to be a young woman who grew up religious. Even when I couldn’t personally relate to the content, I still found myself eagerly anticipating the beautiful prose I was going to hear next.

After I finished this, I immediately bought a hard copy! I enjoyed the audiobook, and can’t wait to see what these poems look like on paper.

Thank you NetGalley, Andrews McMeele Audio, and Andrews McMeel Publishing for the ALC. A special thanks for Jaw Nichelle. All opinions are my own.

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If you are into Spoken Word or Poetry Slams type of narration/literature style, then this is for you. Its not my go to genre and this style of expression is perhaps for a younger audience. There are a few potential trigger warnings around #MentalHealth #Abuse #Suicide #SexualEscapades
#GodThemselves #NetGalley

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I was absolutely in love with this book. When you get to listen to the beautiful mind that is behind the poems narrate as well, it just makes it that much better.

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I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by the author, which I highly recommend. Listening to spoken word poetry is always a delightful experience. This book covers strong religious themes, as the name suggests. I devoured it in one sitting and loved every moment. This will be a poet I read more of, and a book I plan to buy for my shelves.

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4.5 stars

this is a stunning poetry collection that works extremely well in audio form and is performed beautifully by the author! i loved the sound effects and music in the background and feel quite inspired to read more poetry in audio form. the poems themselves are very accessible yet beautifully crafted and full of feeling. as someone who feels quite disconnected from religion, i didn’t expect this to resonate with me so much but the words truly spoke to me regardless of my own beliefs. highly recommend!

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‘God Themselves’ is a collection of 72 poems that discuss existing in a Queer, Black, Female body within a religious space. It discusses themes of reverence, contemplation, celebration of spirit and mental illness.

I read this as an audiobook as an ARC from NetGalley. Thank you to the author and publisher for allowing me this ARC. I appreciate that the author includes a non-exhaustive list of trigger warnings at the beginning of the recording.

I have been trying my best to get into poetry for a couple of months now and have found audiobook versions so much better for me personally to consume. I love the tone of the author’s voice and the pace that she was speaking in was great too. Due to my own negative experiences with religion as a queer person, I was a bit wary of that aspect of the book but I actually didn’t mind it so much.

Personally, my favourite poems were number 7 “What To Do When There’s Nothing You Can Do”, and number 57 “This Is About Nakedness”. I took note of quite a lot of strong lines that really spoke to me while reading this. This is definitely a book I would have on my shelves and I’d love to check out more of the author’s work.

Overall, I had a good time reading this and I devoured it in one sitting. I highly recommend this if you’re getting into or already into poetry. And I always recommend reading audiobooks that are narrated by the author themselves, I love it when they do that!

Representation - Black; Mental Illness; Sapphic

TWs/CWs - Blood; Cussing; Death; Divorce; Drugs (Weed; mentioned); Eating Disorder; Gun Violence; Mental Illness; Police Brutality; Racism; Self-harm; Sex; Suicide; Suicide Ideation; Violence

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What a powerful collection.

God Themselves really spoke to me as an examination of religion through a lens I can personally only view through someone else's words.

Nichelle has a powerful perspective, and listening to her read her words was incredible.

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God Themselves is a series of emotionally charged and power poetry that speaks to being black and queer.
Throught the collection you can feel the struggles and surge of emotions that plague our speaker.
The narrator for this audiobook truly brought to life the cadence and rythmn of each poem and it truly brought the words to life. While listening you'll find yourself lulled on the waves of the voice as they recount the struggles the author has faced.
This book is an eye opening experience that should be felt by as many people as possible, it is sometimes messy and painful but that is life growing up black and queer in the South, the passion and emotions truly bring you into their coiragous life.

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I am so happy I decided to request the audio version of this collection. I really enjoyed the print but the audio took it to another level.

Hearing the pieces performed really highlighted Nichelle's writing genius.

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Content/Trigger Warnings (cw / tw) listed in the audiobook: blood, death, mental health, self-harm, sex, suicide, and violence.
I would also add: abuse, divorce, drugs (weed), eating disorders, gun violence, police brutality, racism, and religious (Christian) themes

Jae Nichelle navigates the intersections of being Black and queer while living in the Christian-dominated southern US. She mourns Black trauma while unapologetically standing for moments of Black joy. There's not much else I know how to say., but it was comforting like soup.

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An emotionally gripping listen; this audiobook, narrated by the author, is filled with passionate poems drizzled with acute honesty. They find ways to resonate with listeners, regardless of connection to the source material. I would recommend this audiobook for anyone who enjoys poetry slams or even the poetic flow of the genre of rap.

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Thank you soooooo much netgalley, the author and the publisher for the advanced review copy if this book💗
"I voluntarily listened and reviewed the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”

Gorgeous cover, nice book

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Thank you NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for this reader's copy of the audio book for review consideration.

This review expresses my own personal opinion. I have not been asked to post it by the author, their publishing company or anyone connected with the book or author.

Jae Nichelle is a poet first, an author second and the combination is powerful as she reveals her thoughts of growing up in the South as a queer black woman, which is no easy journey. She shares heartache, pain, love, religion, and most of all wisdom. Her poems strike the soul and are a dialogue with God.

She does a nice job of narrating her own work, which a lot of authors can’t do. You feel her joy, pain, the tears and the triumph. Stay on the lookout for this rising star.

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