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REVIEW: Call Us What We Carry


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: poetry is not really my thing. It often confuses me. Instead of enjoying beautiful language and imagery, I feel dumb and useless. Amanda Gorman's newest collection, Call Us What We Carry, I'm pleased to report was a bit different. Maybe it's because I heard her inauguration poem in January 2021. Maybe it was the way she presented her poems. Maybe it was the subject or the mindset I had, but this collection moved me and I finally got a glimpse as to why people enjoy poetry.

Amanda Gorman deals with difficult topics throughout this poetry collection as it explores events from 2020 and 2021. It almost feels like she's processing her own emotions, thoughts, and feelings through these pages. Many of the poems I related to tapped into my own feelings. The most common ones were of being overwhelmed, fears regarding what was happening, or the hope that things will someday get better. There were still several poems I didn't fully understand, and that's okay. While we might all be in the same storm, we are not in the same boat.

I borrowed this collection as an ebook from my library, and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to see the formatting for several of these poems. Many of them did not fall into the standard verse form and instead made pictures on a page. I thought it was a great representation for the words and made them hit home a bit harder. Amanda Gorman does narrate this collection herself in the audiobook, which I think would also be a phenomenal way to experience her work. It's no wonder has been ranked #1 in Poetry on @librofm (one of my absolute favorite ways to experience an audiobook specifically is when the author narrates themselves; it gives so much more clarity of emotion and meaning to their work and art).

As this collection did feel somewhat autobiographical, I am not going to give it a star rating. These poems seem to be Amanda's way of sharing her thoughts and emotions with the world. If you're like me and still trying to process through some those things from the last two years, this might be a great collection to read.


CW: covid-19 pandemic, violence, racism, death, slavery

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