Pop Exorcism

Morgan Parker’s second book of poetry, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé (Tin House Books), isn’t just the most ferocious collection to be published this year. It’s also an antidote to the culture of hate and white supremacy reincarnated by our new administration. No poet has used celebrity as a way to palm-read America, black womanhood, depression, and the joys of erotic self-knowing quite like 29-year-old Parker does with her frenetic yet vulnerable staccato verses. In the opening poem, “All They Want Is My Money My Pussy My Blood,” she writes: “I do whatever I want because I could die any minute.” In the 80 pages that follow, the beautiful logic of her haunted celebration holds. Lady Gaga is put on blast, Xanax is popped, boys come and go, as does therapy, Carrie Mae Weems, Grace Jones, RoboBeyoncé, White Beyoncé. It’s part psychic excavation, part historical exorcism. Having watched Nina Simone in concert on YouTube most of my adult life, I’ve finally found an experience to compare that to.