Reviews

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, by Terrance Hayes

jessicafulton's review

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reflective sad fast-paced

3.5

soavezefiretto's review against another edition

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3.0

I always feel bad when I give less then four stars for a poetry book, because I admire poets so much. This only and exclusively reflects my subjective enjoyment, and of course has nothing to do with the quality of the poems, of which I know next to nothing. It's just that I started with great enthusiasm and then started to look forward to picking this up less and less. I do feel many of the poems would have benefitted from being recited alound in African American vernacular, and I did enjoy them more when I heard them on my head in the accent of some of my favorite actors from The Wire. I do hope this is not racist. The thing is, I think Hayes is a spectaculary talented poet, but this book was not meant for me. Maybe I shoudn't even have read it, but I'm glad I did. Some of these poems I'll carry with me for a long time.

carolinehope96's review

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challenging emotional reflective medium-paced

5.0

starnosedmole's review against another edition

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4.0

Eloquent, impassioned poetry in response to Trump's presidence, racism, and abuses of power. There are some beautiful moments of reverence for figures like James Baldwin and MLK, too.

dobeesquared's review against another edition

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5.0

Such fresh and refreshing use of language. The poems in this book are both varied and unified.

charlottegrace's review

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challenging emotional funny reflective sad

4.0

katehoward's review

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dark emotional tense slow-paced

4.0

brittsbookblurbs's review against another edition

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4.0

3.5 stars, rounded up.

This collection of sonnets, on the surface, is full of playful words, phrases, and references reminiscent of jazz. But the levity of the prose belies the depth of the subject matter.

Written during the first 200 days of Trump's presidency, these sonnets address the politicisation of white supremacy, police brutality, and the past/present/future of Black activism. They speak to the reality of trying to live and thrive while being hunted and persecuted because of the colour of your skin, of love and loving yourself, and of an assassin that could be anyone, anything, or even your own self.

I found about 70% of this collection to be moving and introspective, sonnets you could reread and take something new from them each time. In some places, the repetition of phrases added strength to the narrative, whereas in others it felt gimmicky, like a placeholder where other words couldn't be found. The power of the 70% makes [b:American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin|36479356|American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin|Terrance Hayes|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1524528877l/36479356._SY75_.jpg|58190092] well worth the read.
It's not the bad
people who are brave
I fear, it's the good people
who are afraid.
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rosre's review

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challenging emotional hopeful inspiring reflective sad fast-paced

5.0

tgar97's review against another edition

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5.0

would give 5 stars to anyone who could write that many sonnets with the same title and each one of them be good