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Morgan Parker Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Who Put This Song On? (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Collections

Other People's Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Magical Negro (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Morgan Parker is a bestselling novelist, poet, and editor of literary fiction. She is known for writing the 2017 collection of poems “There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé” and the critically acclaimed 2019 collection “Magical Negro.” She made her debut as a poet in 2015 when she published the collection “Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night.” She recently got into the writing of young adult novels when she published “Who Put This Song On” in 2019.

Parker attended Columbia University from where she got her bachelor’s in Creative Writing and Anthropology. She then went to New York University and graduated with an MFA in poetry. Once she graduated, she started writing poetry and got anthologized and published in several prestigious publications that include The Nation, The Paris Review, The New York Times, and Best American Poetry 2016 among many others. She was awarded the Fellowship for the 2017 National Endowment for Arts and Literature. Parker also won the Cave Canem graduate fellowship and the 2016 Pushcart Prize. She is the host and creator of the podcast “Reparations, Live,” which is typically hosted by the Ace Hotel. Morgan curates the reading series “Poets with Attitude” alongside Tommy Pico. She is also responsible for curating “The Other Black Girl Collective” with Angel Nafis a performer and poet. She has asserted that her main interests include media portrayal, fantasies and representation of black people and what such representations affect the actual view of people of color. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Morgan Parker’s “There are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé” is an analysis of black identity and womanhood. It immerses and builds upon historical facts, tons of clever critique and a lot of references from popular culture. Using her poetry, she explores themes of self-ownership, the shape of black womanhood, possession, depression, the imminence of death, appropriation, meaning of commodification, technology and economies of desire. She shifts her style with every piece as she writes with clear meaning one poem only to take a more complex read between the lines approach in another. The title is deceptive as the collection is about the vexed sociocultural and sociopolitical critiques placed upon black people such as Beyoncé rather than being about Beyoncé. In “Magical Negros” she covers the outsides and insides of blackness and sparks a conversation about personal and specific experiences about femininity and blackness. Capturing the braided thoughts of black identity, she showcases how blacks are considered the other yet are so entrenched in American culture. Combining internal dialogue, references to the bible and history, she tells of the experience of black people in America. In her first-ever novel “Who Put This Song On?” Parker says she was inspired by the need to write about her teenage experiences. She was interested in showcasing that version of herself before she became a famous poet. It filled a space and feeling that she needed to make peace with that version of herself which she believed some other young adult in similar circumstances could relate with.

Morgan Parker’s “Who Put This Song On” is loosely based on the author’s diaries and teenage life. Set in small-town suburbia, it is a story of a stifling sunny town, where seventeen-year-old Morgan feels trapped. She hates that she has often been teased for her weird outfits and told she was not really black. In a town full of white people, the number of times she has been the only black girl at a sleepover is without number. All of this has made her sad and Morgan has often spent much of her summertime crying. Things have become really bad in recent times as it seems everyone wants to tell her what to believe, who to vote for and how to feel. She wants to turn it all off and live for herself. Her life seems like a never-ending hamster full of pain and it is worse when she is with her friends who love to listen to the music she hates. Finally discovering her black identity, Morgan decides to take control of her mental health. She believes that the path to happiness in her identity is through passion and intensity, which can sometimes border on the hilarious and even ridiculous. But she reasons that even if it sounds dark, it is not necessarily a bad thing to embrace her darkness.

“There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé” is Parker’s second collection that has her distinctive voice with its relentlessly honest and performative tones that interrogate and seduce in turn. Political, playful and glittering with visual art allusions, pop, and jazz, the novel tells of intersectional and youthful feminism that drew parallels to “Lemonade,” Beyoncé’s album that was released a few weeks before the publication of the collection. Just like Lemonade, the novel has themes of black womanhood, authenticity, and beauty in American culture. Parker draws you in with the gorgeous Carrie Me image and the provocative title. However, the content of the novel provides more than pop culture references as it has vivid insights on culture and self that leave her readers wanting more of what she has to offer. It is a bold, funny and acerbic collection of poetry suffused with cheap booze and anxious seclusion, pervasive and cool glow of screens, hot purple baths and driven by deep millennial glum. But at the core of it all is an unambiguous and urgent statement of beauty and worth of jeopardized black lives.

Morgan Parker’s “Magical Negro” is her most critically acclaimed collection. It is a dissection of the everyday acts of violence in marrow penetrating words that illuminate the fracturing that happens to black people just for being who they are. She writes potent and visceral words combining comedic delivery that makes her very hard-hitting delivery go down like silk. Shifting between pop culture and the Atlantic slave trade, she writes of black women such as Diana Ross eating ribs or Angela Bassett lounging away and sucking on a cigar. In her poetry, Parker makes the consciousness of black womanhood central to her analysis of being consumed and consumption. In “Magical Negro” Morgan suggests that the fantastical does not necessarily represent the magical but insists that black people have to live with dignity rather than just exist.

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