Reviews

Finna: Poems, by Nate Marshall

stef_is_reading's review

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5.0

(I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

Amazing. Nate Marshall covers so much about Blackness, language, Chicago, gender, sexuality, and more here. The lines flow like music. Marshall somehow manages to put together poems about his shared name, his hometown, the word "finna," and the Oregon Trail and have them all feel cohesive. Can't wait for this to come out and others to experience it.

jackelz's review

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These are real stories (poems) about Blackness, masculinity, family, Chicago. 
 
His poem about the Oregon Trail was my favorite. It took me back to elementary school when we would play that, and the typing game Word Invaders, during computer class. Kids today will never understand! 
 
I’m glad I picked this one up while perusing at the library. 
 
“let me put it to you like this fam: who you believe in is a matter of who you mattered to.”

tamykamorant's review

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5.0

This was an amazing book of poetry! I was unfamiliar with Nate Marshall before reading this book but I sure know who he is now. I read the audiobook which narrates and I highly suggest getting that version (and I think there is an unlisted bonus track/poem on there that may not be in the book) because the cadence, tone, rhythm are EVERYTHING and makes the punch of the poetry that much more potent. I highly recommend this book. As usual, I got it as a library book, but I will be dropping coins to add this to my permanent collection.

kateali's review against another edition

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challenging funny reflective fast-paced

4.75


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natchewwy's review

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3.0

"what can be said"

tonight, i'm feeling tender
because it's another time
with my granddaddy
& he's still here
& if he could remember i
would ask him about when he was young
what he would say to the women so they knew
he meant whatever he wanted them to know he meant.
but he's not here in that way so i say
how you living young man
& he answers slow motion.
(& i believe him because i can see him tentative
when he lifts himself out of the chair.)
once Alzheimer's does what it do
you never really have conversations
it's more a man becomes a poem
a lot of repetition & love with something
indecipherable in between.

repeatbeatpoet's review

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dark emotional funny hopeful reflective sad medium-paced

4.25

Eve L. Ewing puts it succinctly in her quote for the blurb; 'this book catalyzes a necessary conversations about Black (American) language practices, culture, ownership, and belonging, and the commodification of Black people's tongues'. 

It takes a writer as assured in their voice, their location in conceptual history, and also in time & place, to make such a feat of writing look so effortless. Finna is pre-occupied with issues of how to live a good life as a Black person, of how to live oneself to the fullest, of family and friend relationships, of relationships with home and the neighbourhood, to slang and Black linguistics, and to be a man loving, learning from, being raised by, and being often in conflict with Black women. 

Really enjoyed this collection, highly recommend for fans of contemporary US poetry.

Fave poems - 

Epicene - on Black masculinity/Black femininity, relations between.
The Homies Ask If I'm Tryna Smash - on languages around sex
An Uncle's Fable For Consent - advice given in the imaginary, then advice as memory.
Sweet Breath - when language fails//the language of lovers
Conceal - for the grandmas and all the lives they lead
My Mother's Hands - like Grandma's Hands (Bill Withers), a poem/prayer
Let Me Put It To You Like This Fam - narrative, it's about perspective. Surviving/almost dying. 
What It Is & Will Be - ain't yet no word for the world we're building - but we're working.
Which Art? What Fact? - on the (im)permanence of everyday Black life in history, the exhibition/consumption of Black life.

   
 

dreamingace's review

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4.0

An interesting collection of poems. An interesting and reoccurring poem/poem idea explores the other people in the world who have the same name as the author and how those people are vastly different despite having a name in common. I also enjoyed the references to Chicago.

literary_lain's review

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5.0

Beautiful use of language and words. Highly recommend!

ajchurch's review

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5.0

I loved this! I have a complicated relationship with my blackness, I don’t exactly know what it means all the time, just that it’s something I am. I feel disjointed sometimes and so I read. And reading parts of this weirdly felt like home? Felt like my bones were styling into a foundation that was there all along. I liked this a lot, liked the way he mixed AAVE with I guess “classical”(??) English. I highlighted the entire poems, and consistently the ends of his poems contained lines that made me go “damn”.

messbauer's review

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dark funny reflective medium-paced

3.0

A solid collection with some truly thoughtful pieces on identity. Some of the poems were structurally a little too experimental to land for me.