Ordinary Beast by Nicole Sealey

Ordinary Beast

ONE OF PUBLISHERS WEEKLY'S TOP 10 POETRY BOOKS OF FALL 2017NPR'S MOST ANTICIPATED POETRY BOOKS OF 2017A striking, full-length debut collection from Virgin Islands-born poet Nicole SealeyThe existential magnitude, deep intellect, and playful subversion of St. Thomas-born, Florida-raised poet Nicole Sealey’s work is restless in its empathic, succinct examination and lucid awareness of what it means to be human.The ranging scope of inquiry underta...

Details Ordinary Beast

TitleOrdinary Beast
Release DateSep 12th, 2017
GenrePoetry, Favorites

Reviews Ordinary Beast

  • Larry H
    3.5 stars.Though we're not so self-important as to think everythinghas led to this, everything has led to this.There's a name for the animallove makes of us—named, I think,like rain, for the sound it makes.Continuing my foray into contemporary poetry, I recently picked up Ordinary Beast , a new collection of poems by Nicole Sealey. The book was named one of NPR's most anticipated poetry books of 2017, and reading Sealey's work, you certainly c...
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    I requested a review copy of this from Edelweiss before I saw it on NPR's Poetry to Pay Attention To in 2017 list, but they weren't wrong.Nicole Sealy has the ability to embody the pain of others, and empathy and shared anger or sadness fill many of these poems. A great example is Virginia is for Lovers , about the "house in Virginia."I also resonated with "a violence," about the lack of maternal drive among other things (read and listen on Th...
  • Didi
    Wow! Just Wow! This collection has left me blown away. She is brilliant with words. Go check Nicole Sealy out on LIT YouTube channel where she was interviewed by Yahdon. Wonderful!
  • Peycho Kanev
    medical historyI’ve been pregnant. I’ve had sex with a manwho’s had sex with men. I can’t sleep.My mother has, my mother’s mother had,asthma. My father had a stroke. My father’smother has high blood pressure.Both grandfathers died from diabetes.I drink. I don’t smoke. Xanax for flying.Propranolol for anxiety. My eyes are bad.I’m spooked by wind. Cousin Lilly diedfrom an aneurysm. Aunt Hilda, a heart attack.Uncle Ken, wise as he wa...
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    This book of poems is divided into three sections. I was worried at first that it wasn't going to live up to the hype, but spending more time with it, and particularly the third section, convinced me that it does. Exploring race in America, myth, love and death with both beauty and stark reality.
  • Jenna
    ”O, / how I’ll miss you when we’re dead." -Nicole Sealey, from “Object Permanence"Though her poetry previously appeared in The New Yorker and New York Times and her chapbook The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named was published in 2015, Ordinary Beast (2017) is Nicole Sealey’s first full-length poetry collection. I was fortunate enough to read with Sealey at a Village Voice poetry reading in 2015, but I never really sat with her p...
  • Shivanee Ramlochan
    Upon finishing Ordinary Beast, I switched off the lights in my room, lay down in the dark, and let Sealey continue to speak into me. How rarely have I seen such finessing and engineering of form used to *connect*, in poems, rather than to hold at bay. I prize that.
  • Cedric
    Pros: Gorgeous. really 4.6-4.7ish. I started reading this book in a sandwich shop near my job and wanted it to be good. I know the author and while I had seen enough of her work to give me confidence that it'd be really good, sometimes you read individual poems you like only to get to the full-length and find all the singles were hot but the rest of the album ain't hittin'. After the first three poems, concluding with "candelabra with heads", the...
  • Andrea
    There are many great lines and poems in this, but one jumped out at me that I wish I could steal for myself. "You look just like your mother," he says, "who looks just like a fire of suspicious origin." Goddamn.
  • Luke
    I don't read much poetry, so reviewing it is difficult. There's a lot I probably didn't understand. Some poems were playful and some toyed with form and expectations. Just as I was thinking about discussing Sealey's use of several poetic devices, imagery especially, I came across a sonnet that celebrates its own complete lack of imagery. Worth a read for sure, but I doubt any of these poems will stick with me.
  • Halley Sutton
    4.5 but I'll round up. Will need to re-read to fully mine all the richness here.
  • Josette
    One of the best books I've read this year -- stunning variety of forms & imaginative use of language to show beauty, pain, a sore identity, daily life.
  • Yuthika
    Notes to self: Even the gods misuse the unfolding blue. Even the gods misread the windflower’s nod toward sunlight as consent to consume. Still, you envy the horse that draws their chariot… Even the eyes of gods must adjust to light. Even the gods have gods.Withstand pandemonium, and scandalous nightstands, commanding candlelight, and quicksand…Let us roam the night together in an attempt to catch the stars that drop.
  • Alex Hubbard
    Startlingly good.
  • Will
    Nicole Sealey's collection is luminary, is brilliant, is tempting, is next level. Sealey writes with a concise and sharp tongue that I haven't encountered anywhere else. I continually finished poems and had to put down the collection to bask, contemplate, and deal with what I had just read. Her poems run the gamut from an amalgamation of the lines of other poets, to taking on experiences in an Equinox, to a confrontation with Brad Pitt--they are ...
  • Meher
    Nicole Sealey is aware of the scope of our world, and the unhindered influence of her words. She uses the latter to question the former; she takes consequential troubles and reduces them to banal concerns. Her mind works intricately, taking in details and reflecting on them for our pleasure.
  • Charlie
    Nicole Sealey's Ordinary Beast is poetry at its most comfortably playful. What I mean by that is that Sealey's poems abound in verbal wit and conceptual humors (look to her poem about Brad Pitt, which runs wild with Pitt-based punnery) without crossing over to outright schmaltz or eye-rolling rhymericks and their ilk. An all-around accessible and emotionally diverse collection of glittering verse.
  • Chris Roberts
    Poetry's sole intentis the subjugation of the poet's identityvia commercial forces -publication is self-murder. Poetry suicides itself famously,form will never equal me,unpredictable drop dead dangerously.Verse, State of oxygen deprived poemsreaders condemned to prefabricated versethe IKEA of poetryand who shops there anymore?Nicole Sealey play's God, sentencing poetry readers to a cultural and intellectual suicide.Chris Roberts, God Ascendant
  • Janine Hightower
    Just one or two poems really spoke to me. Of course the candelabra poem about lynching and then one which was a play on Brad “Pitt” - she used the word or sound “pit” in a playful way throughout the poem and it was pure fun with words- I didn’t even know I liked that. So I just bumped it up to 3 stars...
  • Michelle Despres
    Some lovely lines and incredible word play. (Is it ok to call it that?) And I learned about the obverse form.
  • Bree
    I didn't know what to expect going into Ordinary Beast this isn't an author I was familiar with before hand. Poetry has such a wide range of styles and tones you never really know what you're going to get until you really devour it. Nicole Sealey is very talented at what she does. Her book was complex and had you feeling many different emotions throughout this book journey.The first thing I think that is important to mention about this book right...
  • Sarah
    I’ve been all about the poetry lately, and this is another excellent collection that found its way into my bookshelf. Nicole Sealey, born in the Virgin Islands and raised in Florida, created a wonderfully experimental volume combining reflections on race, sex, and the general paradox of living life with the knowledge of eventual, inevitable death. She opens with the existential “Medical History”, detailing the various maladies of herself an...
  • Trey
    “Every thing aspires to one / degradation or another. I want / to learn how to make something / holy, then walk away.""Let us roam the night together / in an attempt to catch the stars that drop."This was hailed as one of the best poetry collections of the year and it did not disappoint. If you are looking for poetry that is more easily understandable while still being rather rigorous, pick this up.From serious to playful. From reverent to snar...
  • Jonathan Tennis
    It took me a few pages to really get into this collection but I’m glad I spent the time with it as it’s probably the best I’ve read this year. My favorites were: it's not fitness, it’s a lifestyle; cento for the night i said, “i love you”; virginia is for lovers; an apology for trashing magazines in which you appear. There are too many great lines in her work to repeat here but here are a few: “One life is not enough / to remember a...
  • Sanjay Varma
    How do we discover new poets to read? And why do we even read poetry in the first place!?I had heard that Ms. Sealey won NPR's poetry award, but this made no impression on me. There are such a plethora of literary awards. It's reached the point that awards have no value left to signal quality; their only value is as a marketing ploy. But I was still attracted to read this book after hearing that the author started to write poetry later in life, i...
  • James Korsmo
    This is a powerful collection of poetry. Sealey's voice is strong and incisive. As a white male, I was most impacted by her poems that wrestle with issues of race, and it was in that orbit that the book's title seemed so apt. Her poems, especially "medical history," "legendary," and "in defense of 'candelabra with heads,'" are suffused with a subtle fierceness that brings power to her words. This is nicely balanced with an elegant playfulness in ...
  • Julian Randall
    Brimming with sharp imaginative poems Nicole Sealey's long awaited debut does not disappoint. Beginning with "Medical History"'s proclamation of what the poet knows of the stars this is as much a book of Sealey knows and the archive is substantial. Sonnets, centos, and plain spectacular writing make this book a joy to own for poetry lovers the world over!
  • Patti K
    This debut poetry book is written by a Virgin Islands-born poetwho was raised in Florida. Her clear empathic insights and questionskeep us deep in the moment. Her range is wide and powerful.She even includes a startlingly good cento (a hundred line poemcomprised of other authors' lines set into a rich order by the poet."I want to make something/holy, then walk away...." Recommend.
  • Sean
    "I don't aspire; I'm whom one aspires to."Kudos to Nicole Sealey for bringing to light a myriad of themes in her poetry with some of the poems gems and otherwise somewhat confusing and meandering. Lines such as the above find their way in her prose with this volume one in which Sealey is finding her voice with future versions of her poetry potentially more focused. All in all, a decent read.