WOW! WOW! WOW! I seriously could write WOW 250 times and that would be my review. You will love some of these poems and hate others. And others still you will be WTF?!?! Nothing is Okay by Rachel Wiley is one of those poetry books that you hope will be good after hearing one or two of her readings knowing that, yes of course, Facebook is going to highlight the “strong” poems, the “good” ones, the ones that will tease and make you drool for more. Then you get the book and Nada. Zip. Zilch. Like a movie promoted too hard, the best parts were in the trailers.
Not so with Nothing is Okay. She does not hold back. She punches you in the eye every time. Sometimes twice, just to make sure you are paying attention. Sometimes she can be intensely feminist and militant in her thoughts, words and phrasing. Most of what she says, however, can be relatable to almost anyone. She might not have “across the board” appeal, but she does have appeal. She deals with being a “fat girl” and how she learned to love herself, how she has had to fight for her self-respect, even now that she knows her worth. She also deals with love, loss, feminism, being a biracial, lesbian woman and so much more.
The biggest part of her work is that it is Slam poetry. You are supposed to hear them and not read them. Therefore, reading slam poetry is an unusual experience. You can hear a voice if it is done well. Having heard some of the poems in the book, it was her voice I heard most of the time and even found myself reading with her pauses and accents. If you have never heard her, you still can enjoy. In fact, I would probably say you can enjoy them more this way.
Sometimes a whole poem will slap you upside the head. Other times it will just be a line or two. And sometimes things sneak up on you. You will not like everything she has done, but if you are like me, you cannot wait to pick up her first book Fat Girl Finishing School. Or read more poets from Button Poetry, such as Sabrina Benaim whom I have already reviewed here.