Ordinary Beast by Nicole Sealey

Into the Wild



A striking, full-length debut collection from Virgin Islands-born poet Nicole Sealey

The 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 undertaken in Ordinary Beast—at times philosophical, emotional, and experiential—is evident in each thrilling twist of image by the poet. In brilliant, often ironic lines that move from meditation to matter of fact in a single beat, Sealey’s voice is always awake to the natural world, to the pain and punishment of existence, to the origins and demises of humanity. Exploring notions of race, sexuality, gender, myth, history, and embodiment with profound understanding, Sealey’s is a poetry that refuses to turn a blind eye or deny. It is a poetry of daunting knowledge. 

Title : Ordinary Beast
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0062688820
Edition Language : English
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 80 pages


Larry rated it ★★★☆☆

February 12, 2018

3.5 stars. Though we're not so self- important as to think everything has led to this, everything has led to this. There's a name for the animal love 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...

Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it ★★★★☆

August 27, 2017

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 f...

Peycho rated it ★★★★★

December 02, 2017

medical history I’ve been pregnant. I’ve had sex with a man who’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’s mother has high blood pressure. Both grandfathers died from diabetes. I drink. I don’t smoke. Xanax for flying. Propranolol...

Jerrie (redwritinghood) rated it ★★★★☆

September 15, 2017

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 rated it ★★★★☆

December 03, 2017

”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-le...

Shivanee rated it ★★★★☆

January 19, 2018

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.

Andrea rated it ★★★★★

December 02, 2017

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 rated it ★★★☆☆

January 21, 2018

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 ce...

Halley rated it ★★★★★

September 23, 2017

4.5 but I'll round up. Will need to re-read to fully mine all the richness here.

Josette rated it ★★★★★

March 03, 2018

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.

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