Indecency

Justin Phillip Reed

Book - 2018

"Indecency is boldly and carefully executed and perfectly ragged. In these poems, Justin Phillip Reed experiments with language to explore inequity and injustice and to critique and lament the culture of white supremacy and the dominant social order. Political and personal, tender, daring, and insightful―the author unpacks his intimacies, weaponizing poetry to take on masculinity, sexuality, exploitation, and the prison industrial complex and unmask all the failures of the structures into... which society sorts us."--

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Series
Poetry
Subjects
Genres
Poetry
Prose poems
Concrete poetry
Published
Minneapolis : Coffee House Press 2018.
Language
English
Item Description
Poems.
Physical Description
70 pages ; 23 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 69-70).
ISBN
9781566895149
1566895146
Main Author
Justin Phillip Reed (author)
  • Performing a warped masculinity en route to the Metro
  • Witness to the woman I am not
  • Pushing up onto its elbows, the fable lifts itself into fact
  • Nothing was ever itself only
  • Take it out of the boy
  • Any unkindness
  • Portrait with stiff upper lip
  • Slough
  • Anesthesia is a country you leave for America
  • pleas
  • The day ___ died
  • Gateway
  • About a white city
  • A statement from no one, incorporated
  • The requital
  • Snowfall throws its pretty noise upon a weary sameness
  • How to keep it down/throw it off/defer until asleep
  • On being a grid one might go off of
  • Retrograde
  • Untitled (we aint even posed to be here)
  • Porch smoke: an implication in three acts
  • I wish I knew how it would feel
  • On self-reliance
  • Consent
  • Exit hex
  • Orientation
  • Necessary room
  • To every faggot who pulverized me for being a faggot
  • Black can sleep
  • On life as an exercise in preparing to die
  • Carolina prayer
  • Exchange
  • The leak in this old building
  • The fratricide
  • Theory for expansion
  • They speak of the body and one sits up straight
  • A victim dissolves into tears
  • Paroxysm.
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Reed's visceral and teasingly cerebral debut probes black identity, sexuality, and violence and is inseparably personal and political. He displays a searing sense of injustice about dehumanizing systems, and his speakers evoke the quotidian with formidable eloquence: "from another little death sleep I rise to find/ the id well hidden and life's slow states of/ matter still in place." These impulses meet in Reed's delight in sound and symbol, as when a speaker treats a stomachache with "ginger-mint tea in the/ inauguration memorabilia mug from Momma,/ monument-white but for Obama." Reed startles with his renderings of oppressive institutional spaces ("You arrive at the university and stand out like a necrotic thumb"), while his poem "The Day ______ Died" operates both as a brilliant rebuke to Frank O'Hara's famous elegy and as widely applicable commentary on ongoing genocide: "i disavowed ‘died' but didn't mutter ‘murdered' in the direction of anyone who uttered it." Reed's voice is engaging and vulnerable; in "To Every Faggot Who Pulverized Me For Being a Faggot," the speaker tempers his accusations with the admission that "What you don't know is/ I needed someone like you but braver." Abundantly brave, Reed's debut finds language as "a body behaving// as will any dialect, lifting stranger and more/ urgent mouths to the same sentence." (May) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A collection of poems explores inequity and injustice while critiquing the culture of white supremacy and the dominant social order.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Intricate, intimate, difficult, and confrontational poems that push at the boundaries of selfhood, skin, culture, sexuality, and blood.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Winner of the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry

Indecency is boldly and carefully executed and perfectly ragged. In these poems, Justin Phillip Reed experiments with language to explore inequity and injustice and to critique and lament the culture of white supremacy and the dominant social order. Political and personal, tender, daring, and insightful—the author unpacks his intimacies, weaponizing poetry to take on masculinity, sexuality, exploitation, and the prison industrial complex and unmask all the failures of the structures into which society sorts us.