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Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry is a twenty-first-century paean to the sterling love songs humming throughout four hundred years of black American life. National Book Award winner Nikky Finney’s fifth collection contains lighthouse poems, narrative hotbeds, and treasured artifacts—copper coins struck from a new matrix for poetry, one that testifies from the witnes Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry is a twenty-first-century paean to the sterling love songs humming throughout four hundred years of black American life. National Book Award winner Nikky Finney’s fifth collection contains lighthouse poems, narrative hotbeds, and treasured artifacts—copper coins struck from a new matrix for poetry, one that testifies from the witness stand and punctuates the occasional lyric within a new language of “docu-poetry.”   The ancestors arise and fly, and the black female body is the “insurgent sensualist,” hunted but fighting to live and love in the ways it wants and knows best: “I loved being / a black girl but had not yet learned / to play dead . . .”   The tenderness of a father’s handwritten notes shadows the collection like a ghost, while the treasured, not-for-sale interiority of a black girl’s fountainhead takes over every page. “One yellaw gal with an all-black tongue has gone missing.” Finney has composed a new black spiritual, and one of the great voices of our time again stamps her singular sound into the new day.  


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Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry is a twenty-first-century paean to the sterling love songs humming throughout four hundred years of black American life. National Book Award winner Nikky Finney’s fifth collection contains lighthouse poems, narrative hotbeds, and treasured artifacts—copper coins struck from a new matrix for poetry, one that testifies from the witnes Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry is a twenty-first-century paean to the sterling love songs humming throughout four hundred years of black American life. National Book Award winner Nikky Finney’s fifth collection contains lighthouse poems, narrative hotbeds, and treasured artifacts—copper coins struck from a new matrix for poetry, one that testifies from the witness stand and punctuates the occasional lyric within a new language of “docu-poetry.”   The ancestors arise and fly, and the black female body is the “insurgent sensualist,” hunted but fighting to live and love in the ways it wants and knows best: “I loved being / a black girl but had not yet learned / to play dead . . .”   The tenderness of a father’s handwritten notes shadows the collection like a ghost, while the treasured, not-for-sale interiority of a black girl’s fountainhead takes over every page. “One yellaw gal with an all-black tongue has gone missing.” Finney has composed a new black spiritual, and one of the great voices of our time again stamps her singular sound into the new day.  

30 review for Love Child's Hotbed of Occasional Poetry: Poems & Artifacts

  1. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    4.5 stars A masterful work in docu-poetics, and gorgeously bound to boot.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Afton Montgomery

    Nikky Finney with manna from poetry heaven. Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry is a collection of objects and physical histories and it’s an object itself as much as it’s ever a “book.” Finney is a master both of posing the artifact and of crumpling it and adding it to the compost heap that will grow artifacts of the future. This book holds a great deal of American tragedy in the same hands as it holds one of the tenderest father-daughter relationships I’ve ever read. This book—as a collec Nikky Finney with manna from poetry heaven. Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry is a collection of objects and physical histories and it’s an object itself as much as it’s ever a “book.” Finney is a master both of posing the artifact and of crumpling it and adding it to the compost heap that will grow artifacts of the future. This book holds a great deal of American tragedy in the same hands as it holds one of the tenderest father-daughter relationships I’ve ever read. This book—as a collection of occasional works— could be too easily categorized with the response side of call-and-response. But here Finney’s work feels birthed from its own physicality: a Response, for sure, but one of all its own agency.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    I loved this book so much. Like a poetic scrapbook with interleavings of her father's handwritten letters, newspaper clippings with her early readings and reviews, family photos, Finney incorporates lyrical essays (a paean to pencils!) and packs a political punch about violence to Black bodies, as each of these pieces was written (as the title indicates) in response to a particular occasion or event. Her voice is brassy and funny, elegiac and unsparing, her syntax turns when you least expect it. I loved this book so much. Like a poetic scrapbook with interleavings of her father's handwritten letters, newspaper clippings with her early readings and reviews, family photos, Finney incorporates lyrical essays (a paean to pencils!) and packs a political punch about violence to Black bodies, as each of these pieces was written (as the title indicates) in response to a particular occasion or event. Her voice is brassy and funny, elegiac and unsparing, her syntax turns when you least expect it. She celebrates Black intimacy and joy even as she demands a reckoning for ongoing violence. It's dazzling how much this book accomplishes while seeming like a quirky and intimate conversation with the reader. You get a sense of Finney's roving eye, her attuned senses, her delight in being distracted and surprised (by the sight of a fox when she's up early to fly to a poetry reading, by the beauty of a rosy quartz bequeathed to her by a disturbing neighbor). Under it all, a love letter to her father whose accomplishments as a judge she extolls even as she questions the ability of the law, structured under white supremacy, to undo it. She writes matter-of-factly about the dementia that took his memories but poignantly about the love and tenderness that threaded through even that long and difficult loss. I want to read this whole collection again; there was so much pleasure here, even as certain poems erupt and sear (as well they should).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Beatriz

    I received an advanced reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley. This book includes both poetry and prose. It feels like a memoir and it's interesting that the author added various pictures throughout the book. However, I felt lost while reading it and it didn't really appeal to me. The author's writing is good, but I did found myself pushing through the book in order to finish it. Rating: 3/5 stars I received an advanced reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley. This book includes both poetry and prose. It feels like a memoir and it's interesting that the author added various pictures throughout the book. However, I felt lost while reading it and it didn't really appeal to me. The author's writing is good, but I did found myself pushing through the book in order to finish it. Rating: 3/5 stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    #AD: gifted product Thanks to the publishers, and NetGalley, for providing me with a free eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. Warning: this book contains discussions of racism, and the unfair trial and subsequent death sentence of a young boy. Unfortunately, I find myself struggling to give this book a proper review. First, I would say this: pay heed to the word 'occasional' in the title. The majority of this book is prose vignettes, or prose poetry. This book, for me, is primarily #AD: gifted product Thanks to the publishers, and NetGalley, for providing me with a free eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. Warning: this book contains discussions of racism, and the unfair trial and subsequent death sentence of a young boy. Unfortunately, I find myself struggling to give this book a proper review. First, I would say this: pay heed to the word 'occasional' in the title. The majority of this book is prose vignettes, or prose poetry. This book, for me, is primarily a memoir, or perhaps a homage to the author's father. The writing itself is certainly competent, and often touching. The piece that stood out to me the most was one right towards the end, titled "Black Boy with Cow: A Still Life". This piece was by far the most emotionally of the book, mostly due to its subject matter, but also due to the portrayal it offers of the author's relationship to her father. This was what I enjoyed about the book. However, I struggled to get involved in many of the prose vignettes, and I was often left wondering if what I was interpreting as prose poetry due to the line breaks was actually a formatting issue. There were many formatting issues with this book, to the point where I was often unsure if something was placed in error or intentionally. I hope this issues are resolved before the book is released, as I would be disapppinted had I paid for this, especially as I felt distracted from the writing itself by the errors with which it was riddled. With better formatting, and error corrections, I do feel as though this book could potentially gain an extra star, but the errors were too distracting for me to enjoy the writing as I perhaps could otherwise. Rating: 3 stars, could easily be 3.5-4 if formatting errors are removed in the published edition.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Fry

    From the beautiful dedication to her Uncle Bobby—“with one peach-orchard-blooming mind, ablaze, always ablaze”!!—to each and every carefully placed artifact, this book is a dangerous thing. It might make you wonder how to define it, but if you trust in your ear and read it like a book of poetry, you’ll hear the music and feel the heft of its magnificent pull. Sit with this book, give it a chance to breathe, see the magical mind at play, and allow it to lead you—unit by metrical unit—through what From the beautiful dedication to her Uncle Bobby—“with one peach-orchard-blooming mind, ablaze, always ablaze”!!—to each and every carefully placed artifact, this book is a dangerous thing. It might make you wonder how to define it, but if you trust in your ear and read it like a book of poetry, you’ll hear the music and feel the heft of its magnificent pull. Sit with this book, give it a chance to breathe, see the magical mind at play, and allow it to lead you—unit by metrical unit—through what will surely be a groundbreaking masterpiece.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Farah

    Disclaimer - I received a free digital download of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. If I am to speak honestly then I must say that the digital copy of the book that I received seemed to have a lot of formatting problems unfortunately and for me it’s very difficult to look past when trying to read and review a book. I also found a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes. I hope that all of the above issues are modified prior to publishing. I was intrigued by the opening statem Disclaimer - I received a free digital download of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. If I am to speak honestly then I must say that the digital copy of the book that I received seemed to have a lot of formatting problems unfortunately and for me it’s very difficult to look past when trying to read and review a book. I also found a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes. I hope that all of the above issues are modified prior to publishing. I was intrigued by the opening statements of ‘Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry’ as it defines something called ‘occasional poetry’ - a term with which I am not familiar and goes on to stipulate that the poetry contained in the book is of the occasional persuasion meant to be read individually as if each poem were a performance. The poetry in this book is of the long hand prose variety and are enjoyable to read and immerse yourself in. You follow the tales of Love Child and her favoured memory’s. Bearing witness to her last days with her grandmother, struggles with and the death of her father and remembrances of her mother from her childhood days. The prose goes on to tell stories of different times all rooted in African American culture and history. It was an interesting journey to partake in and explore the authors thoughts and expressions via her written word.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn

    Stunning!! Nikky Finney has gifted us with history lessons written in the most exquisite prose. Her occasional poems illustrate how chosen words from a gifted storyteller of ancestry can widen perspective. How I want to sit in the same room, not a virtual room like the one I was fortunate to hear share during the Dodge Poetry Festival but to learn from her. If I could, I would gift this book to every public library, every friend who reaches for better understanding. I feel like I know every memb Stunning!! Nikky Finney has gifted us with history lessons written in the most exquisite prose. Her occasional poems illustrate how chosen words from a gifted storyteller of ancestry can widen perspective. How I want to sit in the same room, not a virtual room like the one I was fortunate to hear share during the Dodge Poetry Festival but to learn from her. If I could, I would gift this book to every public library, every friend who reaches for better understanding. I feel like I know every member of Nikky Finney's family and rejoice in doing so. I cannot think of a book I have enjoyed more.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Zöe Yu

    It is a collection of "occasional poetry", and I like the poet's keen eye on details. However, there is always a thing with "getting too personal". Poems are condensed emotions etc., but the numerous nuances documents, photo copies of letters received, handwrite etc. in the book gives a feeling of sloppiness somehow, and the literary aesthetics got reduced a bit. Liked the dog slaughter poem in the middle. It is a collection of "occasional poetry", and I like the poet's keen eye on details. However, there is always a thing with "getting too personal". Poems are condensed emotions etc., but the numerous nuances documents, photo copies of letters received, handwrite etc. in the book gives a feeling of sloppiness somehow, and the literary aesthetics got reduced a bit. Liked the dog slaughter poem in the middle.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Burgi Zenhaeusern

    This collection of stunning "poems & artifacts" is in a category all by itself and best enjoyed slowly in order to fully savor its incredible scope and music. Poems, narratives, artifacts alternate in a loosely woven tapestry paying homage, remembering, and chronicling personal as well as historic events. I wish all history were recounted like that. This collection of stunning "poems & artifacts" is in a category all by itself and best enjoyed slowly in order to fully savor its incredible scope and music. Poems, narratives, artifacts alternate in a loosely woven tapestry paying homage, remembering, and chronicling personal as well as historic events. I wish all history were recounted like that.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley. A stunning collection of prose, poetry and treasures all round: in words and in pictures and in their connections to each other and the author's experiences. Vibrant, creative and deeply potent. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley. A stunning collection of prose, poetry and treasures all round: in words and in pictures and in their connections to each other and the author's experiences. Vibrant, creative and deeply potent.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Diana Arterian

    "Love Child's" is the fullness of life—from tender paternal love, Finney's personal ephemera of her career, to explorations of racial trauma. "Black Boy with Cow: A Still Life" is one of the most urgent, complex poems I've read in years. This book emanates a power so stark it's almost unbearable. "Love Child's" is the fullness of life—from tender paternal love, Finney's personal ephemera of her career, to explorations of racial trauma. "Black Boy with Cow: A Still Life" is one of the most urgent, complex poems I've read in years. This book emanates a power so stark it's almost unbearable.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anita

    Excellent

  14. 5 out of 5

    Fabulisticfloyd

  15. 5 out of 5

    Leah

  16. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  17. 5 out of 5

    GuRiUl12

  18. 5 out of 5

    Caguge

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ternai

  20. 4 out of 5

    Danni Quintos

  21. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pìalfr

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Goldsmith

  24. 4 out of 5

    Esseje10

  25. 5 out of 5

    A.M.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Savannah

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  28. 4 out of 5

    Julu

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rumule 5vten

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brian

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