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Butcher is a book about love & loss — about being unapologetic and transparent in grief. Natasha finds an unexpected solace in the kitchen after losing her best friend and brother, Marcus. Here, using the cuts of the cow as a metaphor Miller, explores addiction, family & tragedy. Butcher takes the body of a cow and cleaves it into 5 parts: envisioning the cuts as relationshi Butcher is a book about love & loss — about being unapologetic and transparent in grief. Natasha finds an unexpected solace in the kitchen after losing her best friend and brother, Marcus. Here, using the cuts of the cow as a metaphor Miller, explores addiction, family & tragedy. Butcher takes the body of a cow and cleaves it into 5 parts: envisioning the cuts as relationship with family members and social forces. Her Mother the rib, her Brother the brisket, her queerness as the tongue and cheek. Butcher is raw and tender. It’s a book that tells the story of a woman who redefined success after losing the most valuable thing to her.


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Butcher is a book about love & loss — about being unapologetic and transparent in grief. Natasha finds an unexpected solace in the kitchen after losing her best friend and brother, Marcus. Here, using the cuts of the cow as a metaphor Miller, explores addiction, family & tragedy. Butcher takes the body of a cow and cleaves it into 5 parts: envisioning the cuts as relationshi Butcher is a book about love & loss — about being unapologetic and transparent in grief. Natasha finds an unexpected solace in the kitchen after losing her best friend and brother, Marcus. Here, using the cuts of the cow as a metaphor Miller, explores addiction, family & tragedy. Butcher takes the body of a cow and cleaves it into 5 parts: envisioning the cuts as relationship with family members and social forces. Her Mother the rib, her Brother the brisket, her queerness as the tongue and cheek. Butcher is raw and tender. It’s a book that tells the story of a woman who redefined success after losing the most valuable thing to her.

30 review for Butcher

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

    "The ocean is not always a tsunami. The wind is not always a tornado. You are no less powerful in all your stillness." Such a beautiful, readable collection, touching on experiences of grief and loss, Black lives, and being a queer woman (and being a queer, Black woman experiencing grief). Like with all collections, not all the poems landed for me, but there was so much to enjoy and admire. "The ocean is not always a tsunami. The wind is not always a tornado. You are no less powerful in all your stillness." Such a beautiful, readable collection, touching on experiences of grief and loss, Black lives, and being a queer woman (and being a queer, Black woman experiencing grief). Like with all collections, not all the poems landed for me, but there was so much to enjoy and admire.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elaina

    First of all, I would like to thank NetGalley for offering me the chance to read in advance this book in exchange for an honest review. The poetry book contains 32 poems which are systematically arranged in the 5 chapters relating to the body parts of a cow: The Rib, Tongue & Cheek, The Round, The Tenderloin, and The Brisket. All these chapters carry connotations of body and life, and means that feelings are channeled through organs. The title, “Butcher,” makes us to take into consideration the fa First of all, I would like to thank NetGalley for offering me the chance to read in advance this book in exchange for an honest review. The poetry book contains 32 poems which are systematically arranged in the 5 chapters relating to the body parts of a cow: The Rib, Tongue & Cheek, The Round, The Tenderloin, and The Brisket. All these chapters carry connotations of body and life, and means that feelings are channeled through organs. The title, “Butcher,” makes us to take into consideration the fact that sometimes we have to be our own feelings’ butcher; even if we may deal with grief, sadness, melancholy, depression, the death of a loved family member or a pet, racism, injustice, we need to cut off any feelings related to them, wipe our tears, and move on because that’s what the society expects from us. In a nutshell, the poems tell the story of resilience, sisterhood, BLM movement, the continuous survival during daily struggles coming from being a woman of colour and gay besides. “It’s cold for black girls even In the summer. It’s winter for us no matter what season it be.” Let this poem be the ‘Hey sis, thank you and I see you’ when you’ve become invisible to movements you’ve created When you’ve carried sadness two times your body weight yet still showed up to the functions smiling. Personally, I’ve recently discovered that poems are conveying more emotions and feelings than a narration, and when that happens to relate to subjects that I like or even subjects that are new and challenging but rendered in simply but genuinely lines, I definitely recommend them to all books/poetry books lovers. And this is also the case of this poetry book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anwen Hayward

    This was an insightful poetry collection, particularly the poems about grief, but ultimately it fell a little flat for me, and I'm not sure why. A lot of the poems were very simplistic and anti-climactic; I quite often found myself waiting for a catharsis that didn't come. I think they'd probably be very powerful as performance pieces, but don't necessarily work as well on the page. Some of them felt a little unfinished, which in a few cases worked, particularly in the poems about death, where t This was an insightful poetry collection, particularly the poems about grief, but ultimately it fell a little flat for me, and I'm not sure why. A lot of the poems were very simplistic and anti-climactic; I quite often found myself waiting for a catharsis that didn't come. I think they'd probably be very powerful as performance pieces, but don't necessarily work as well on the page. Some of them felt a little unfinished, which in a few cases worked, particularly in the poems about death, where the lack of a resolution fit thematically, but at other times it just left me wanting. These are varied poems, dealing with grief, anger, queerness and family, and I thought that it worked well as a sort of poetic autobiography. It's deeply personal and raw at times, and that's when I think Miller is at her best. Miller is obviously a very talented poet and I'd definitely be interested in looking up some of her performances on YouTube, but this was a collection that didn't quite work for me, which I think is possibly just an issue of medium.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Misse Jones

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I honestly loved everything about Natasha T. Miller’s, Butcher. Like literally everything. The structure, tone, themes explored, thoughtful selections, and excellently crafted pieces had me feeling all the feels! This collection of poetry, while an exploration of her journey while grieving her brothers death, proved to be so much more, including hope, understanding and healing. Miller masterfully uses the cuts of a cow to metaphorically describe relationships with her family (particularly her mo I honestly loved everything about Natasha T. Miller’s, Butcher. Like literally everything. The structure, tone, themes explored, thoughtful selections, and excellently crafted pieces had me feeling all the feels! This collection of poetry, while an exploration of her journey while grieving her brothers death, proved to be so much more, including hope, understanding and healing. Miller masterfully uses the cuts of a cow to metaphorically describe relationships with her family (particularly her mother, brother Marcus, and nephew Carlito) who have been highly impactful in her life. It also serves to further emphasize her identity and perspectives on larger societal issues. I definitely whooped, hollered, and clapped several times over while reading An Open Letter to Raven Symone As with all of her poems, she speaks her truths and does not hold back. “Old Black or new Black. Outside gay or bedroom gay, you’re still gay. You’re still taught, still one police stop or I’m sorry I have a woman away from your mother burying you on this same land you tried to protect. Don’t make them have to remind you. You’re still one of us.” Some of my favorite poems are, “I see you,” a reminder to know your worth and a reiteration of the love and honor you deserve just for being; “How to come out and stay out” and “Hot Flashes.” A huge shout out for, “Dear Kenneka Jenkins”. SHE DESERVED BETTER! I recommend this book to poetry lovers but to all readers alike. It’s just that good and unapologetically real. A huge thank you to NetGalley and Button Poetry for granting me access to this book in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Filipa Batista

    A small book, which brings us a lot of hard and cruel feelings. Death, loss, and love are perceived here by the visceral, the offal of an animal, the people important to the author are mirrored in the same way. But what an irreverent way to demonstrate feelings causing strangeness to those who read! Butcher is thus the name of the book and, yes, the name lives up to all the poems that the author exposes. Butcher of feelings, a butcher of meat that goes further by breaking the soul. It is incredib A small book, which brings us a lot of hard and cruel feelings. Death, loss, and love are perceived here by the visceral, the offal of an animal, the people important to the author are mirrored in the same way. But what an irreverent way to demonstrate feelings causing strangeness to those who read! Butcher is thus the name of the book and, yes, the name lives up to all the poems that the author exposes. Butcher of feelings, a butcher of meat that goes further by breaking the soul. It is incredible how in so few words and viscerally we can feel the dexterity and the desire to tear everything to reach the depths of Natasha, becoming herself: a butcher poet! I believe that with this work she found more than a cure for the pain she feels at the death of her brother. This book is a beautiful work of self-analysis and memory protection, but it goes further by proposing to touch the heart and soul of those who read this book. Alcohol is one of the themes mentioned here, Natasha describes it as a destructive addiction and very present in her life, also admitting her impotence before him. The theme of racial discrimination is felt by the author and highlighted by very current facts. In addition to being a book that mirrors Natasha's life, it is a current book, demonstrating that Natasha has a great ability to know how to pose and reflect on pertinent themes and, at the same time, bring her life to the top as a way of healing for yourself and others. I recommend this book to teenagers and young adults to self-examine and/or reflect on the world around them. Thank you, NetGalley to provide me this copy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    TheEuphoricZat

    Since it been a while that I read a poetry collection, this was a really good (and I mean sad) one. Here we follow the author's road to 'healing' and 'understanding of her own pain' A someone who has been dealt a bundle of loss before, a line really stood out to me in this book. 'I want to feel how I feel, even when it's not happiness'- Toni Morrison. The author reflecting on this quote made me do the same. Allow yourself to be sad, angry, disgusted even vengeful but the most important at least t Since it been a while that I read a poetry collection, this was a really good (and I mean sad) one. Here we follow the author's road to 'healing' and 'understanding of her own pain' A someone who has been dealt a bundle of loss before, a line really stood out to me in this book. 'I want to feel how I feel, even when it's not happiness'- Toni Morrison. The author reflecting on this quote made me do the same. Allow yourself to be sad, angry, disgusted even vengeful but the most important at least to me and from my understanding the author is accepting. Accepting that you have lost something or someone important but there are still a lot more things you can care for and love. Natasha talks about transgender death and lack of acceptance. "black girls who look like black men wearing a quiet death" This for me translates in different ways, transgender has become an identity rather than a step that allows one to become who they want to really be or who they really are. Sometimes they are not allowed to, afraid to even because they fear the eyes and knives of the world. The other, they become who they really are and they are not accepted because they are 'different or rather unique and strong' She highlights what people sound like when they say 'all lives matter', honestly she is just hilarious but she poignantly lists out the stupidity of people who make these remarks. I will end this review with two quotes that I pulled from her poems "Grief is more contagious than joy" so well said. "I know that death is an alarm clock without a snooze button"

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn B

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Butcher is a short (~56 pages and ~32 poems) collection of poems by Natasha T. Miller about her mother's addiction, her brother's death, race, and sexuality. The poems are powerful but a little rough with a few typos and inconsistent font ("theatt" with two t's, potentially missing words in some poems, switching between serif and san serif font in the same poem, etc.), but it's clear Miller is a talented writer. It's organized in parts: The Rib, Tongue & Cheek, The Round, The Tenderloin, and T Butcher is a short (~56 pages and ~32 poems) collection of poems by Natasha T. Miller about her mother's addiction, her brother's death, race, and sexuality. The poems are powerful but a little rough with a few typos and inconsistent font ("theatt" with two t's, potentially missing words in some poems, switching between serif and san serif font in the same poem, etc.), but it's clear Miller is a talented writer. It's organized in parts: The Rib, Tongue & Cheek, The Round, The Tenderloin, and The Brisket, and Meat/Butcher imagery is used throughout to represent pain, loss, and grief. The poems flow well on the page, so you can imagine how they would be performed. Some of my favorite pieces are "To existing being enough:" "On days like today you're just existing, and that's fine The ocean is not always a tsunami. The wind is not always a tornado" From "Correction:" "America is on fire. Correction: America is burning again. Correction: America has always been on fire. We are just paying closer attention to the flames." *I was given an electronic ARC from Net Galley to review*

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maddie Brown

    Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review. "You become the excuse and the excused the burning building and the fire expecting to be rescued while left alone" Butcher by Natasha T. Miller is a collection of poems about loss, grief, and being yourself. Miller provides the emotion felt behind addiction, the loss of her brother, and being in the LGBTQ+ community. These poems definitely read as spoken poetry, and I wish I could hear them being read aloud. Ther Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review. "You become the excuse and the excused the burning building and the fire expecting to be rescued while left alone" Butcher by Natasha T. Miller is a collection of poems about loss, grief, and being yourself. Miller provides the emotion felt behind addiction, the loss of her brother, and being in the LGBTQ+ community. These poems definitely read as spoken poetry, and I wish I could hear them being read aloud. There are very powerful poems in this collection, and the metaphor of a butcher cutting life into different sections creates interesting visuals. There were many poems that worked well and conjured high emotions, but others did not feel as intense. Even though I could not relate to many of these subjects, the poems were still interesting and beautiful. Again, thank you to NetGalley, Natasha T. Miller, and the publisher for giving be to opportunity to read this collection early.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Naomi (naomi.reads.world)

    I want to start by saying I'm reviewing this as a queer, light-skinned woman - I highly recommend checking out #ownvoices reviews of Butcher before you decide to skip or pick up this collection. Natasha T. Miller's poetry collection Butcher hits you in the gut as she explores addiction, death and grief, along with her identity as a queer Black woman. Some of her poems feel unfinished, but this reads as intentional, and a painful commentary on the abruptness of death, and the effect tragedy and lo I want to start by saying I'm reviewing this as a queer, light-skinned woman - I highly recommend checking out #ownvoices reviews of Butcher before you decide to skip or pick up this collection. Natasha T. Miller's poetry collection Butcher hits you in the gut as she explores addiction, death and grief, along with her identity as a queer Black woman. Some of her poems feel unfinished, but this reads as intentional, and a painful commentary on the abruptness of death, and the effect tragedy and loss can have on those left behind. The poem "I see you" is particularly powerful in Miller's acknowledgement of the strength and perseverance of Black women. "Let this poem serve as an acknowledgement of your royalty" Butcher is a beautiful collection, and my only complaint is that it was over too soon. I had not read or seen any of Miller's words prior to picking this up, and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for future work! Thank you to NetGalley and Button Poetry for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jess Witkins

    I wish it was longer. Natasha T. Miller's poetry collection on grief is palpable. It speaks to our times, to the lives of BIPOC and LGBTQ identities, and how to be the person left missing someone. Artistically broken down into sections of meat cut and served, Miller discusses personal losses and community losses. Particular poems that most moved me included "Ten Things You Sound Like When You Say 'all lives matter' in response to Black Lives Matter," "Nobody's Body is a Crime," "They Say," and " I wish it was longer. Natasha T. Miller's poetry collection on grief is palpable. It speaks to our times, to the lives of BIPOC and LGBTQ identities, and how to be the person left missing someone. Artistically broken down into sections of meat cut and served, Miller discusses personal losses and community losses. Particular poems that most moved me included "Ten Things You Sound Like When You Say 'all lives matter' in response to Black Lives Matter," "Nobody's Body is a Crime," "They Say," and "I Learned of Grief too Late." This book is educational, emotional, and powerful. Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kaila

    4/5 stars Despite being very short, this poetry collection packs an emotional punch. It was beautiful, painfully honest and unapologetically angry at the world around us. It tackled grief, race, family relationships and being a queer woman. The poetry was both insightful and highly passionate. I felt as if I was glimpsing inside the author's very soul for a few painful moments, that is how emotive her language was. The words flowed with grief, loss, love and reluctant resignation. I especially en 4/5 stars Despite being very short, this poetry collection packs an emotional punch. It was beautiful, painfully honest and unapologetically angry at the world around us. It tackled grief, race, family relationships and being a queer woman. The poetry was both insightful and highly passionate. I felt as if I was glimpsing inside the author's very soul for a few painful moments, that is how emotive her language was. The words flowed with grief, loss, love and reluctant resignation. I especially enjoyed how the poems branched off each other and intertwined in not only themes but also language and structure. I find that a lot of poetry collections seem disconnected, but this felt like a collection of intertwining and interlinked works that complement each other well. After reading this, I am excited to explore more from this undeniably talented author/poet.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jade

    I enjoyed these poems and thought they told a really cohesive story as a collection, tying together the narrower scope (her brother's death) and the wider scope (being black and queer in America). Certain poems felt a little long, and I thought the author could probably pack a little stronger punch with fewer words or more figurative language. I'm sure a lot of this comes down to personal preference, and I am excited to look up performances of some of these poems, because I think a lot of them w I enjoyed these poems and thought they told a really cohesive story as a collection, tying together the narrower scope (her brother's death) and the wider scope (being black and queer in America). Certain poems felt a little long, and I thought the author could probably pack a little stronger punch with fewer words or more figurative language. I'm sure a lot of this comes down to personal preference, and I am excited to look up performances of some of these poems, because I think a lot of them will shine even brighter through performance than on paper. Thanks to Netgalley for giving me an arc to review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mercedes Yardley

    Butcher is a lovely, fierce, unapologetic exploration of rage and grief. It manages to be both elevated and accessible, discussing the pain of a loving someone chronically drunk as well as somebody who was murdered. It's both tender and angry, lovely and raw. It's a short book that can be read quickly, but I suggest taking the time to savor each poem. I found myself marking several beautiful, thought-provoking verses in this book. It's full of gems and love and hate and absolute rage and sorrow. Butcher is a lovely, fierce, unapologetic exploration of rage and grief. It manages to be both elevated and accessible, discussing the pain of a loving someone chronically drunk as well as somebody who was murdered. It's both tender and angry, lovely and raw. It's a short book that can be read quickly, but I suggest taking the time to savor each poem. I found myself marking several beautiful, thought-provoking verses in this book. It's full of gems and love and hate and absolute rage and sorrow. There were a few typos and the e-reader format was a bit mushed at times, but the words themselves are fairly dripping with power. This is a must-read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    thank you to netgalley and button poetry for providing me a free copy of the book for an honest review. firstly, I am reading this as a white queer woman, and i urge people to look up #ownvoices reviews too. as a long-time fan of button poetry i was really excited to get to this book, and upon further inspecting i had listened to a few (very good) poem performances by the author, Natasha T Miller. so, it was only natural that i loved the writing style, as you can sense the slam poetry rhythm in thank you to netgalley and button poetry for providing me a free copy of the book for an honest review. firstly, I am reading this as a white queer woman, and i urge people to look up #ownvoices reviews too. as a long-time fan of button poetry i was really excited to get to this book, and upon further inspecting i had listened to a few (very good) poem performances by the author, Natasha T Miller. so, it was only natural that i loved the writing style, as you can sense the slam poetry rhythm in them, plus the play with pausing to affect sentence meaning (some fav examples of this: Sangria, I See You, and Say Less). this short book has poems that overlap the author's experiences with grief, blackness, queerness, womanhood and the different forms of discrimination that come from it, and touches heavily on her relationships with mother, brother and nephew. As always, i recommend to read books that feature intersectionality of underrepresented experiences to list favourites i would almost write the index, so I'll highlight two: 1. Correction - a simple short poem, that says so much 2. The title poem Butcher - This poems really helps to round out the perspective from which the book comes from, which is why I'll talk a little bit more about it (this is my interpretation, so do take this with a pinch of salt). I think the word Butcher can be folded out into the Slaughter and the Cutting. The slaughter reads like a metaphor for the prosecution of black bodies + overlap with queer people and/or women, an uneasiness that Natasha portraits throughout the book. The concept of butchering /cutting yourself up into different representative sections (the concept of the book): splitting yourself up into different labels, dividing the different facets of your life, things that feel present in the life of so many minorities (see e.g. Nobody's Body is a Crime); when this book is an exploration of all of those things coming being present together.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Suradha

    Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an ARC for this book. The book is powerful and moving and a captivating study of the flavours of grief across marginalized identities. Quick read, definitely not easy and I'm very glad to have had the chance to read a first person perspective to a en masse struggles like BLM and LGBTQ+ activism. If you like poetry and you like first person narratives of life and love and grief, I'd recommend Butcher. Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an ARC for this book. The book is powerful and moving and a captivating study of the flavours of grief across marginalized identities. Quick read, definitely not easy and I'm very glad to have had the chance to read a first person perspective to a en masse struggles like BLM and LGBTQ+ activism. If you like poetry and you like first person narratives of life and love and grief, I'd recommend Butcher.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    "Butcher" by Natasha T. Miller is a powerful, profound and somehow overwhelming collection of poems. Every word holds such a great amount of pain and emotion: it is nearly impossible to read all on the go, you need time to digest and think out. It is Evident that Natasha's heart is full of anger and sorrow. She lost her beloved brother, she struggles with acts of racism... she simply wants to raise her voice and stop inequality, homophobia, racism, pain. Maybe some poems are not powerful as many o "Butcher" by Natasha T. Miller is a powerful, profound and somehow overwhelming collection of poems. Every word holds such a great amount of pain and emotion: it is nearly impossible to read all on the go, you need time to digest and think out. It is Evident that Natasha's heart is full of anger and sorrow. She lost her beloved brother, she struggles with acts of racism... she simply wants to raise her voice and stop inequality, homophobia, racism, pain. Maybe some poems are not powerful as many others, but the emotion enclosed in these words is huge. Here is "Grief", the poem that touched me the most. "It’s like opening the fridge every few minutes hoping that there will be food. Except the fridge is your heart, and the food is a person you’ll never see again."

  17. 4 out of 5

    Delaney

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an ARC in exchange for an honest review. How do I feel about Butcher? I don't usually read a lot of poetry, but this book made me feel like I should read it more. I really enjoyed it. Butcher had a lot of beautiful, powerful, and heartbreaking things to say. It was a quick read, which was great for me. She wrote about a lot of topics that were clearly close to her heart. It was about family, friendship, grief, being queer, bein Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an ARC in exchange for an honest review. How do I feel about Butcher? I don't usually read a lot of poetry, but this book made me feel like I should read it more. I really enjoyed it. Butcher had a lot of beautiful, powerful, and heartbreaking things to say. It was a quick read, which was great for me. She wrote about a lot of topics that were clearly close to her heart. It was about family, friendship, grief, being queer, being black, and being a woman. And I liked all of it, it was phenomenal. I don't really have much else to say, so I'll leave you with my favorite quote from the poem Grief: "It's like opening the fridge every few minutes hoping that there will be food. Except the fridge is your heart, and the food is a person you'll never see again."

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susie Dumond

    Butcher is a beautiful and vulnerable collection of poems about grief, family, queerness, and Blackness. Natasha T. Miller's voice is wonderfully fresh, and her poems offer a relatable yet unique perspective. I really enjoyed this collection and look forward to reading more of Miller's work. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. Butcher is a beautiful and vulnerable collection of poems about grief, family, queerness, and Blackness. Natasha T. Miller's voice is wonderfully fresh, and her poems offer a relatable yet unique perspective. I really enjoyed this collection and look forward to reading more of Miller's work. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

  19. 4 out of 5

    lori light

    Thank you, NetGalley for allowing me to review this beautiful and heartbreaking collection of poetry. These are words about grief, race, family, and sexuality. Powerful words. I will never understand this kind of loss or this kind of struggle, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate what is said here. Having experienced some painful losses of my own in life, all of the poems about grief cut right to my heart. “We are all hurting and as a result all hurting each other Until you learn to be gr Thank you, NetGalley for allowing me to review this beautiful and heartbreaking collection of poetry. These are words about grief, race, family, and sexuality. Powerful words. I will never understand this kind of loss or this kind of struggle, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate what is said here. Having experienced some painful losses of my own in life, all of the poems about grief cut right to my heart. “We are all hurting and as a result all hurting each other Until you learn to be grieving and gracious Until you learn that this shit is never just about you.” If you like poetry, especially poems from queer, black voices...make sure to add this one to your list.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eram Hussain

    "I know that death is an alarm clock without a snooze button." "I know that death is an alarm clock without a snooze button."

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine

    Update on 01/25/2021 : Ah! What a lovely cover!! First I would like to thank NetGalley for providing the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Butcher is an amazing collection of 32 poems, divided into different segments, talking about love, loss and portraying a vivid picture of accepting and becoming oneself. This collection of poems felt so raw, honest and personal that I wished I could go on reading longer. First of all the entire idea of presenting is very unique. I have Update on 01/25/2021 : Ah! What a lovely cover!! First I would like to thank NetGalley for providing the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Butcher is an amazing collection of 32 poems, divided into different segments, talking about love, loss and portraying a vivid picture of accepting and becoming oneself. This collection of poems felt so raw, honest and personal that I wished I could go on reading longer. First of all the entire idea of presenting is very unique. I have never read something like this before. After all the chain of events of last year, these poems hit on a whole another level. The style of writing reminds me of words from Ocean Voung, Lang Leave and Rupi Kaur at the same time. “..the ocean is not always a tsunami/ the wind is not always a tornado/ you are no less powerful/in all your stillness” It always takes a lot to describe such vivid emotions in just few lines. The poet, talking about the kindness of a mother, loss of a brother, the grief coming out of it, being a person of colour and gay and everything one has to go through for being so as if you are paying a price of something you never purchased. I really enjoyed reading these poems. Couldn’t appreciate more. 

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gillian

    3.5: This is a heartbreaking collection of poetry surrounding Natasha's queerness, her relationship with her mother, and her late brother and coping with his death. Natasha's pain is clear and it translates through every word. This is definitely not a light read, and my heart hurt with every poem, however it does shed light on dealing with death and grief. There were some parts of this collection that felt disjointed or even unfinished, however I think that's a perfect representation both of the 3.5: This is a heartbreaking collection of poetry surrounding Natasha's queerness, her relationship with her mother, and her late brother and coping with his death. Natasha's pain is clear and it translates through every word. This is definitely not a light read, and my heart hurt with every poem, however it does shed light on dealing with death and grief. There were some parts of this collection that felt disjointed or even unfinished, however I think that's a perfect representation both of the cuts of beef as a metaphor (disembodying) and of dealing with grief (never-ending). There's a perfect imperfectness to Miller's writing that is so pure and real. Thanks to Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    Thank you Button Poetry and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. "success is not about money or a bottom line / success is sometimes just the lifeline / between your journey and how your story / can inspire or save someone else" - from "The Playground is Empty" Based on her own definition, Natasha T. Miller's Butcher is a success.  I have no doubt that her poetry will inspire many. Butcher is organized into five sections, each named after a cut of meat.  Thank you Button Poetry and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. "success is not about money or a bottom line / success is sometimes just the lifeline / between your journey and how your story / can inspire or save someone else" - from "The Playground is Empty" Based on her own definition, Natasha T. Miller's Butcher is a success.  I have no doubt that her poetry will inspire many. Butcher is organized into five sections, each named after a cut of meat.  Each section focuses on a different subject, including family relationships, social issues, queerness, and grief.  I imagine that, depending on personal experience, different readers will connect more closely with different sections of this book.  I found myself most moved by The Brisket--a collection of poems inspired by Miller's grief over the murder of her brother Marcus--however, my favorite poem in the book is "To existing being enough."  I plan to print it out and keep it at my desk, and I imagine readers who are tattoo lovers getting the lines "You are no less powerful / in all your stillness" inked into their skin. Stylistically, Miller's poems are all written in free verse and two are written in prose form.  She plays with formatting such as indentations, numbered lists, and italicized text.  I know that Miller is a spoken word poet, and you can hear that flow in some of the poems.  She also uses grammatical structures from AAVE in The Tenderloin poems.  Despite enjoying the different styles of the poems, I would say that the collection does not have a very strong or unified voice overall. I would recommend this book to poetry lovers, slam poetry lovers, and individuals interested in poetry about race, queerness, intersectionality, family, grief, and coping.  Given the language and content, I'd rate this PG-13 (with a strong emphasis on parental guidance for younger teens).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Frida

    I received an eARC copy in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley. Where do I begin? How do I start describing the emotions and thoughts this crushingly powerful collection left me feeling? Could I even say anything without having this big lump in my throat? This collection of poems perfectly matches its title. It is a butcher; it is a raw feeling; it is anger; it is sorrow; it is grief. It is all the injustice in the world. It is standing tall against racism, inequity, inequality, homophobi I received an eARC copy in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley. Where do I begin? How do I start describing the emotions and thoughts this crushingly powerful collection left me feeling? Could I even say anything without having this big lump in my throat? This collection of poems perfectly matches its title. It is a butcher; it is a raw feeling; it is anger; it is sorrow; it is grief. It is all the injustice in the world. It is standing tall against racism, inequity, inequality, homophobia, and pain. The literary artwork is divided into five chapters: The Rib, Tongue & Cheek, The Round, The Tenderloin, and The Brisket. Each one of them carries different emotions, different pains and struggles. However, all of them are intertwined, allowing them to course through the body. All the pain, hurting, and grief are translated into these words that echo for a long time. Two fires We are always two fires burning down our own home But not today. Today I choose to be water, today I choose us over the ashes. To existing being enough On days like today you're just existing, and that's fine. The ocean is not always a tsunami. The wind is not always a tornado. You are no less powerful in all your stillness. Grief It's like opening the fridge every few minutes hoping that there will be food. Except the fridge is your heart, and the food is a person you'll never see again. How I wish this collection is longer... Nevertheless, its length does not cut short on the message it sends to the world. P. S. I think this book deserves to have its cover on Goodreads. It truly represents the meaning of its words. To the book cover designer - you've done an excellent job!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Fi

    Butcher is an incredibly visceral and personal collection of poetry, brought together through the metaphor of a butcher’s cuts. Through her poems Natasha explores themes of addiction, motherhood, grief, sisterhood, and the injustices that go along with being black, gay and a woman in US society. The tone of the collection is heavy as is to be expected with the subject matter but is interjected with small and eloquent moments of hope. ‘I see you’ and ‘To existing being enough’ in particular fit in Butcher is an incredibly visceral and personal collection of poetry, brought together through the metaphor of a butcher’s cuts. Through her poems Natasha explores themes of addiction, motherhood, grief, sisterhood, and the injustices that go along with being black, gay and a woman in US society. The tone of the collection is heavy as is to be expected with the subject matter but is interjected with small and eloquent moments of hope. ‘I see you’ and ‘To existing being enough’ in particular fit into this category. Natasha writes with such a rawness her poetry feels at times like reading a diary. She steers clear of using overly flowery language in favour of packing a punch with emotional honesty. You can feel the spoken word influences in her work and the passion that goes along with that art form bleeds through into the words on the page. ‘Family Reunions’ is one of my favourite poems early on in the collection. It is about how society expects us to function after trauma. Feeding us the message that your pain is fine so long as it fits into a tidy time frame. The poem ‘Ten Things You Sound Like When You say “All Lives Matter” in Response to Black Lives Matter’ is full of smart analogies tearing apart the racism and hypocrisy of the phrase ‘all lives matter’. With a list of names of black lives lost due to police brutality at the end of it. Her observations are biting and important. I think that this book should be essential reading for everyone. Especially those like myself who don’t experience the injustice and fear Natasha goes through everyday, just for existing in a body that society deems unfit. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Thank you Natasha T. Miller, Button Poetry, and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. I very rarely feel the need to quote a book. It's a shame that this is an ARC (advanced reader copy) and I cannot provide quotation. There's one poem in this collection that really hit home for me. I'm a straight, white woman, but have been on the opposing side of grief. There's a poem in this collection that talks about when people move on, leaving you in the dust of grief. When the world seem Thank you Natasha T. Miller, Button Poetry, and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. I very rarely feel the need to quote a book. It's a shame that this is an ARC (advanced reader copy) and I cannot provide quotation. There's one poem in this collection that really hit home for me. I'm a straight, white woman, but have been on the opposing side of grief. There's a poem in this collection that talks about when people move on, leaving you in the dust of grief. When the world seems to get over the death of your loved one, but you're still feeling the wounds of losing that individual like it happened yesterday. I felt that and I cried. In addition to grief, Natasha T. Miller covers what it's like to be an out Black woman and what the world looks like for her. It's no surprise that she's won awards for her poetry because it's some of the best poetry I've ever read, talking about things that need to be discussed. I also appreciate the candid nature of her prose, sprinkled throughout the book. In between poems, she has letters and lists. There's a list in here that made me laugh and whoop and scream, "YES!" because this specific list declares a point that I've been trying to get through the heads of some very stubborn relatives of mine. It's disappointing that this book only has 18 reviews on Goodreads and doesn't have a cover uploaded. That needs to change. Miller's masterpiece needs to hit shelves everywhere and be accessible to every reader. I will never stop recommending this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Callum McLaughlin

    This collection of poems centres around Miller’s attempts to navigate grief after the loss of her brother, her mother’s alcoholism, and the everyday struggles she faces as a Black, queer woman in modern America. Miller’s experience as a performance poet and activist really shine through, even as her voice is condensed into text form. There’s a directness to her writing style that makes the pieces at once approachable and impactful. There’s no hiding behind complex rhythms or elaborate imagery her This collection of poems centres around Miller’s attempts to navigate grief after the loss of her brother, her mother’s alcoholism, and the everyday struggles she faces as a Black, queer woman in modern America. Miller’s experience as a performance poet and activist really shine through, even as her voice is condensed into text form. There’s a directness to her writing style that makes the pieces at once approachable and impactful. There’s no hiding behind complex rhythms or elaborate imagery here; the themes laid bare with gut-punch clarity. Given the scope of the topics at hand – racism, homophobia, love and loss – I’d argue they’re all the stronger for it. The poems are divided into a few sections, named after different cuts taken from the body of a cow. Beyond the obvious raw, brutal connotations, this initially suggests the idea of breaking ourselves down into constituent parts; acting as metaphorical “butchers” so we can cut away the viscera and confront the very “meat” of our lives. The device/imagery isn’t used to any real effect, however, and ends up being somewhat superfluous. It’s the one area I felt would have benefitted from a little more depth of exploration. Still, the immediacy and power of Miller’s words are sure to resonate widely, and I’m glad to have discovered her work. Thank you to the publisher for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jules Tollett

    “Grief is more contagious than joy” - Natasha T. Miller, “I Learned of Grief Too Late” This book entirely broke my heart. I love the way that Miller writes not only about her complicated relationships with her parents and her brother, but also with the world. She explores grief in a way that seems so entirely relatable, yet so specific to her own tragedy. As someone who also has a complicated relationship with someone who has died, I think Miller was able to capture the intricacies of grief and h “Grief is more contagious than joy” - Natasha T. Miller, “I Learned of Grief Too Late” This book entirely broke my heart. I love the way that Miller writes not only about her complicated relationships with her parents and her brother, but also with the world. She explores grief in a way that seems so entirely relatable, yet so specific to her own tragedy. As someone who also has a complicated relationship with someone who has died, I think Miller was able to capture the intricacies of grief and how you can be upset with someone for how they lived or what they did, but still feel their loss and remember their love. I also very much enjoyed the section “Tongue and Cheek”, where Miller discusses the struggles of being not only a black person, but also a queer one. She details with heartbreaking accuracy the ways in which black gays must arm themselves every day in order to just survive. As a queer person, reading Miller’s pleas for recognition for black queer women was utterly tragic. “Please, leave a record of our deaths / hang us on trees / near street lights / give us names / just talk about us / the black girls who look / like black men wearing a quiet death / a sheep easy to slaughter” - Natasha T. Miller, “The Other Black Man” This book of poems was truly so moving, and a must read for those looking for more insight on family, grief, and identity. This copy was lended to me as an ARC through NetGalley!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Farah

    Disclaimer - I received a free digital download of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I could tell from the first page that this ‘poetry’ book would be different from the contemporary verse I usually read. The poetry contained centres around addiction, loss, death, racism and homophobia (especially in black communities). The poetry contained is a very interesting read and I’d say a lot is very eye opening. I’d never considered some of the topics raised and I’m grateful to Disclaimer - I received a free digital download of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I could tell from the first page that this ‘poetry’ book would be different from the contemporary verse I usually read. The poetry contained centres around addiction, loss, death, racism and homophobia (especially in black communities). The poetry contained is a very interesting read and I’d say a lot is very eye opening. I’d never considered some of the topics raised and I’m grateful to have been given the chance to read this book. There is a lot of emotion and suffering contained, such that could be helpful to those struggling with the loss of loved ones and those wanting to better understand homosexual persecution in black communities. I especially enjoyed reading ‘The answer is kindness’, I liked the back and forth nature of it and the fact that it’s highly versatile to others situations. My only real complaint is based around the formatting of the copy I was sent to review as this affects the ability of the poetry to flow. But all in all I’d definitely recommend this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    Thank you, Netgalley, for this ARC. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and unbiased. I don't read poetry very often these days. It's not something I look for, really. I was initially drawn to this book because of its beautiful cover, then by the description. When I started reading it, I was immediately drawn in by Miller's beautiful, dynamic language. Grief It's like opening the fridge every few minutes hoping that there will be food. Except the fridge is your heart, and the food is a Thank you, Netgalley, for this ARC. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and unbiased. I don't read poetry very often these days. It's not something I look for, really. I was initially drawn to this book because of its beautiful cover, then by the description. When I started reading it, I was immediately drawn in by Miller's beautiful, dynamic language. Grief It's like opening the fridge every few minutes hoping that there will be food. Except the fridge is your heart, and the food is a person you'll never see again. So few words manage to convey so much meaning. Most of this book is dealing with grief in many flavors, and also Blackness, family and queerness, and the intersection of these. I often feel that reading work by someone different from oneself can be more enlightening about their experience than reading a more academic, distanced text. While I certainly wouldn't assume to say that this book made me understand Black people, or Black queer people, I do feel it gave me greater understanding of their experience. Miller's writing has a vulnerability, a realness that lets the reader share her experience albeit briefly.

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