Mini-Review: There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, Morgan Parker (2017)

Monday, February 13th, 2017

“It’s mostly about machine tits”

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley.)

This is for all the grown women out there
Whose countries hate them and their brothers
Who carry knives in their purses down the street
Maybe they will not get out alive
Maybe they will turn into air or news or brown flower petals
There are more beautiful things than Beyoncé:
Lavender, education, becoming other people,
The fucking sky

(“Please Wait (Or, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé)”)

I don’t read a ton of poetry, since it mostly tends to go over my head. There are the rare exceptions, of course: stories written in verse, and the occasional feminist title; see, e.g. The Princess Saves Herself in this One. But mostly I shy away from it, since it makes me feel … not the sharpest tool in the shed.

That said, between the title and the cover, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé proved pretty much impossible to pass up. While I’m sure I missed out on many of the cultural references – I’m white, and this is a collection of poetry about black womanhood – and didn’t pick up all the varied and more veiled messages that Parker was putting down, I enjoyed it all the same. I read it cover-to-cover three times in two days, and with each successive reading, discovered something new. Parker’s poetry sparkles and shines and cuts more deeply, the more time you spend with it.

It’s hard to play favorites, since each piece has at least one or two especially memorable lines. (To wit: “At school they learned that Black people happened.”) But among the poems that really stood out to me are Hottentot Venus; Beyoncé On The Line for Gaga; Afro; These Are Dangerous Times, Man; RoboBeyoncé; 13 Ways of Looking at a Black Girl; The Gospel According to Her; The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife; White Beyoncé; What Beyoncé Won’t Say on a Shrink’s Couch; It’s Getting Hot In Here So Take Off All Your Clothes; The Book of Revelation; 99 Problems; and the titular Please Wait (Or, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé).

There are forty-two poems total, twenty-five of which have previously been published elsewhere. For those keeping count at home, thirteen have Beyoncé in the title. The Beyoncé/Lady Gaga mashups are fun, if only because I enjoy imagining them hanging together – or swapping bodies in a Freaky Friday twist.

I feel like I should say more but idk how to read poetry, let alone review it. There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé is a fierce, funny, and subversive collection of poetry. You don’t need to be a member of the Bey Hive to love it (but it sure doesn’t hurt). It’s earned a permanent spot on my Kindle so I can return to it as needed over the next four to eight (please dog no) years.

(More below the fold…)

DawnWatch: TMZ getting slammed for airing Beyoncé fur cruelty controversy footag

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Jun 19, 2006 3:59 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: TMZ getting slammed for airing Beyoncé fur cruelty controversy footage 6/19/06

There is a controversy brewing on TMZ.com, a hot new celebrity news site, run by Harry Levin, who was the executive producer on the syndicated television show “Celebrity Justice.” That show, which looked at celebrity run-ins with the law, won repeated Genesis Awards for its recurring focus on animal issues. When a celebrity attached his or her name to animal friendly legislation, the show would often cover the issue including graphic footage of whatever abuse was being tackled.

Last week, on his new venture, TMZ.com, Harry Levin chose to air footage of a dinner meeting between Beyoncé and PETA representatives. Unable to get Beyoncé to agree to meet and discuss the use of fur in her fashion line, PETA put in the highest bid on an eBay auctioned dinner with the star. Beyoncé had no idea she was dining with PETA folks. The TMZ.com site tells us,

“As they sat at the table, Beyoncé, who has a fashion line with her mother that uses fur, had no idea what was coming. After placing their orders, the PETA members confronted the singer.”

(More below the fold…)