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Really enjoyed this take on ekphrasis poetry. Boy With Thorn is a haunting volume of elegiac, ekphrastic, allusive poems that address the violence brought upon the Black body The voice and language remind me of Carl Phillips, Kevin Prufer, and Eric Pankey It s good to see Glenn Ligon s artwork on the cover The tone is quiet but unrelenting in its insistence on the subject of this violence in the following poems Conditions for a Southern Gothic, Ghazal for Emmett Till, Vanitas With Negro Boy, Full, Southern Gothic, and the long poem, Of the Leaves That Have Fallen I had to stop reading for a moment after Full, in which the speaker becomes one of the bodies enduring the brutality at the hand of another It s a short poem, but it is haunting and ghastly It begins presumably in the voice of one of the perpetrators kind of reporting what he and his posse have done to six lit bodies and ends with the speaker shifting to the voice of one of the six victims The last line cuts itself off and interjects Dear lord as if it s too gruesome to go on I also had to take a breather after some of the numbered parts in Of the Leaves That Have Fallen, in which the speaker or less forces himself to look through postcards picturing lynched Black people The speaker asks why spectators come to circle the hanging feet at these public lynchings, and he questions his own looking He references the myth of Osiris and Isis, which also fits nicely with the allusive inclination of the volume Vanitas With Negro Boy is my favorite ekphrastic poem in the book There s a triumph in this voice, which ends with a fantasy of violent revenge upon a master This violence is what the master expects of his slave, and the language seems to imply the master s desire for it This is what I ll do to you, what you dream I do, sir, if you like it I also love the twist in this line Why trust the Old Masters Old Masters, never trust me. Beautiful collection that merits a second, or third reading Complex and layered and very outside my experience. After reading this collection, I feel like I know the poet We may not have much in common, but I understand his twists and his deeply felt Southern gay gothic roots He takes the reader on a journey that is historical and still very painful and relevant Stunning poetry. During my year of read poetry, I think it s safe to say that I just don t get it.I enjoyed the poems that were clearly linked to other artistic pieces that I could look up and see to help appreciate the poetry However, when looking at the Notes section at the end, it was clear to me that you needed to be a poetry scholar which I am not to have picked up on all of the other references in this collection which I did not and appreciate them I can see how others would like it Reading Laurentiis poetry is just as breathtaking as hearing him recite it I met him than a year ago, on a cold October evening during a literature festival I had never heard of him before then nor had I read anything of him And all of a sudden in walks this tall slender person, wearing a beautiful glittery mini dress, and stands in front of me He begins reading out loud and instantly the whole room is quiet, filled with his warm low voice Listening to him makes for a strange counterbalance his words his voice reassure you and disturb you all the same I sat there for what seemed like hours, just listening to this warm voice telling me of naked black bodies and blood and sweat and history And then it was over.I walked up to him afterwards, determined to get this book and have him sign it for me, to not forget this mystical evening He was just as nice, calm and approachable.This same copy of the book is what I read today, another cold evening November this time And everything came rushing back The Boy with thorn walked once again and stood before me. Excellent language. 4 4.5 LooseThis is a collection very conscious of its author s identity as a gay black man What frustrated was that for all that consciousness, it proved remarkably unfocused Not once did I find that pithy, damaging couplet that rearranged my world Rather, there was a lot of mannered rambling one could not help but feel needed a good editor to bring it to the next level I was a little disappointed I sensed talent, but it was largely undone by being published before the final tight read was done. `Download ☚ Boy with Thorn ↡ In A Landscape At Once The Brutal American South As It Is The Brutal Mind, Boy With Thorn Interrogates The Genesis Of All Poetic Creation The Imagination Itself, Questioning What Role It Plays In Both Our Fascinations With And Repulsion From A National History Of Racial And Sexual Violence The Personal And Political Crash Into One Language Here, Gothic As It Is Supple, Meditating On Visual Art And Myth, To Desire, The Practice Of Lynching And Hurricane Katrina Always At Its Center, Though, Is The Poet Himself Confessing A Double Song Of Pleasure And Inevitable Pain