Autopsy is one of those poetry books that could be extremely controversial. Not only are the subject matters not easy to deal with (race, class, death, adoption, sexuality), these subjects are not easy to read. The other part of this is, if for some reason you are not 1000 percent “on board,” it could cause accusations of racism and bigotry. Therefore, this is not the first book to start with when you are starting out with a book of poetry. Therefore, this book will not be an easy discussion book for your reading group. Therefore, be ready to be tossed about (and not always kindly).
The audience for Donte Collins is not just anyone. People having experienced what they have gone through will most likely relate more quickly. Collins identifies as queer and many of his works show the difficulty of that, not only as a person in American today, but a man of color in America. He deals with each of the subjects strongly and with no punch held back.
He paints images in interesting words. Usually, you can pick up their meaning, but occasionally there is a poem that can almost feel abstract. This is when the “not on board” can come into play. I admit, as a white, cisgender, heteroflexible female I do not know what it was like to grow up as Collins did. Therefore, I cannot relate to that “particular” poem (whichever one I am not relating to). I had to go back several times and reread poems.
This, and some of the non-traditional formats of the poems can lead to difficulty in reading them. This, and the small font, took away enjoyment for me. I like Collins but found them difficult to read most of the time.
You experience not only the words of Autopsy, you experience Collins themselves.