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The Collection Plate: Poems

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A deeply wrought and joyful debut poetry collection from an exciting new voice  Looping exultantly through the overlapping experiences of girlhood, Blackness, sex, and personhood in America, award-winning essayist and poet Kendra Allen braids together personal narrative and cultural commentary, wrestling with the beauty and brutality to be found between mothers and daughter A deeply wrought and joyful debut poetry collection from an exciting new voice  Looping exultantly through the overlapping experiences of girlhood, Blackness, sex, and personhood in America, award-winning essayist and poet Kendra Allen braids together personal narrative and cultural commentary, wrestling with the beauty and brutality to be found between mothers and daughters, young women and the world, Black bodies and white space, virginity and intrusion, prison and freedom, birth and death. Most of all, The Collection Plate explores both how we collect and erase the voices, lives, and innocence of underrepresented bodies—and behold their pleasure, pain, and possibility Both formally exciting and a delight to read, The Collection Plate is a testament to Allen’s place as the voice of a generation—and a witness to how we come into being in the twenty-first century. 


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A deeply wrought and joyful debut poetry collection from an exciting new voice  Looping exultantly through the overlapping experiences of girlhood, Blackness, sex, and personhood in America, award-winning essayist and poet Kendra Allen braids together personal narrative and cultural commentary, wrestling with the beauty and brutality to be found between mothers and daughter A deeply wrought and joyful debut poetry collection from an exciting new voice  Looping exultantly through the overlapping experiences of girlhood, Blackness, sex, and personhood in America, award-winning essayist and poet Kendra Allen braids together personal narrative and cultural commentary, wrestling with the beauty and brutality to be found between mothers and daughters, young women and the world, Black bodies and white space, virginity and intrusion, prison and freedom, birth and death. Most of all, The Collection Plate explores both how we collect and erase the voices, lives, and innocence of underrepresented bodies—and behold their pleasure, pain, and possibility Both formally exciting and a delight to read, The Collection Plate is a testament to Allen’s place as the voice of a generation—and a witness to how we come into being in the twenty-first century. 

30 review for The Collection Plate: Poems

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kemora

    The collection plate was a book of poetry that rocked me to my 🦴 bones. It is very rare that I read something that has a voice like this one. There wasn’t any great romance that broken her heart. There wasn’t some man/woman that left her. She was fully aware and conscious in this one🙌🏽. I have never read a book of poetry that reminded me of a younger Toni Morrison until this. When I read this I couldn’t stop 🛑 thinking about "The Bluest Eye". This had old south written all over it. A little dang The collection plate was a book of poetry that rocked me to my 🦴 bones. It is very rare that I read something that has a voice like this one. There wasn’t any great romance that broken her heart. There wasn’t some man/woman that left her. She was fully aware and conscious in this one🙌🏽. I have never read a book of poetry that reminded me of a younger Toni Morrison until this. When I read this I couldn’t stop 🛑 thinking about "The Bluest Eye". This had old south written all over it. A little danger and fire. This was nitty and gritty but honest. There were parts of this book that took my breath away. However, there were just as many that had me begging for more. This is riddled in culture and the harshness that is the BLACK experience. Especially this quote from Nannie Helen Burroughs. "white men offer more protection for their prostitutes than black men offer to their best women” I took away a star ⭐️ because I wanted to see a note from the author at the end to give us a little backstory on the timeline and what made her write this book of poetry. I feel that because poetry has such a personal voice. It is harder sometimes to assume what something is in relation to so it’s great to see where the author wanted you to go with their writing. That is my only honest complaint here and it was still a joy to read. I think when this comes out in audio it will be just as lovely. I received an ARC from NetGalley, and I am leaving an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy Bruestle

    I won this through a giveaway in exchange for an honest review... I don’t have much to say on this, except that is was pretty good. Poetry is personal, and everybody liked different things...it speaks to people in different ways. It wasn’t the best that I’ve read, but it definitely wasn’t the worst, either. All in all, I’d say it was pretty decent.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    I enjoyed this collection of poems from Kendra Allen but found myself deeply moved by the cover. It's eerie, inviting, beautiful and complex just like the poems presented. The voice is particularly Black/African-American and Southern; very relatable for this Black, Southern girl. By no means am I someone that reads poetry for the depths and philosophical ideals, I simply like the experience of exploring a new literary voice. I will revisit The Collection Plate for reference but found the audio b I enjoyed this collection of poems from Kendra Allen but found myself deeply moved by the cover. It's eerie, inviting, beautiful and complex just like the poems presented. The voice is particularly Black/African-American and Southern; very relatable for this Black, Southern girl. By no means am I someone that reads poetry for the depths and philosophical ideals, I simply like the experience of exploring a new literary voice. I will revisit The Collection Plate for reference but found the audio book a lot easier to digest. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Latonya Bell

    Poems filled with passion, agony, and anguish reveal the emotions of black lives. This writer's bold and demanding tone emerges powerfully with infinitive phrases and genuine craft. My favorite poems are ‘Solace by Earl’, ‘I am the note Held Towards the End’, ‘Gifting back Barn and Bread’, and ‘I come to You as Humbly as I Know’. Black Lives Matter, the message not the movement are words I as a black woman announce say proudly! Poems filled with passion, agony, and anguish reveal the emotions of black lives. This writer's bold and demanding tone emerges powerfully with infinitive phrases and genuine craft. My favorite poems are ‘Solace by Earl’, ‘I am the note Held Towards the End’, ‘Gifting back Barn and Bread’, and ‘I come to You as Humbly as I Know’. Black Lives Matter, the message not the movement are words I as a black woman announce say proudly!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Candice (Blackbiracialandbookish) Hale

    Aptly personal, intimate, Southern, and Black, 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝘾𝙤𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙋𝙡𝙖𝙩𝙚 is a testament to the generations of Black voices, trapped and free, that now have the ability to stand in their truth and see themselves fully. Kendra Allen’s debut poetry collection collects your hearts, your spirit, and your minds to remember the beauty and brutality of what it means to be a black girl and black woman in this country. There is an offering of redemption and repair that needs to take place in this country immed Aptly personal, intimate, Southern, and Black, 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝘾𝙤𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙋𝙡𝙖𝙩𝙚 is a testament to the generations of Black voices, trapped and free, that now have the ability to stand in their truth and see themselves fully. Kendra Allen’s debut poetry collection collects your hearts, your spirit, and your minds to remember the beauty and brutality of what it means to be a black girl and black woman in this country. There is an offering of redemption and repair that needs to take place in this country immediately for those Black bodies lost and damaged along the way. Through complex form and structure, Allen provides poetry that explores issues we must face between families, between life and death, between Black and white, between sex and privacy, and prison and abolition. Allen writes passionately about issues that affect a generation and we need to listen. 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝘾𝙤𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙋𝙡𝙖𝙩𝙚 is a worthwhile collection for any poetry fan, but it was too complicated for my taste. While some poems were digestible and able to make sense to me, I struggled with many of them. Quite frankly, I was simply left perplexed at what I had just read and I reread at least 3-4 times for clarity and was still stumped and just moved onto the next poem. Then, the different breaks in form and line breaks were hard to adjust to as well. I had to decide if I needed to read horizontally or vertically. I was just overwhelmed. I couldn’t find a connection with the work. Now, do I believe that his collection is not worth your attention, no! I’m not the best poetic soul in Bookstagram, so, perhaps, the connection is lost on me, but this collection was just too difficult for me to follow, but it could be great for you. Please give it a try because the topics here are worthy of attention. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (3.5)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    Kendra Allen's The Collection Plate offers an uncompromising body of poems. She gives voice to rage, specific and universal, and pulls the curtains away to show us the ugliness and hypocrisy that lie behind much of what passes as kindness or care. One of the best examples of this ability see shaming truths is offered by a pair of poems both titled "Naked and Afraid." The first poem of this title seems to discuss strategies for winning on a program like Survivor—what to bring, what kind of locatio Kendra Allen's The Collection Plate offers an uncompromising body of poems. She gives voice to rage, specific and universal, and pulls the curtains away to show us the ugliness and hypocrisy that lie behind much of what passes as kindness or care. One of the best examples of this ability see shaming truths is offered by a pair of poems both titled "Naked and Afraid." The first poem of this title seems to discuss strategies for winning on a program like Survivor—what to bring, what kind of location to look for. She notes "One of the biggest challenges contestants face/on the show is finding drinkable water." One needs containers for water. One needs fire—because even seemingly clear water will need disinfecting. And a failure to obtain clean water can have catastrophic consequences. The second poem of this title, moves from reality TV to real life: "one of the biggest challenges citizens face/is finding drinkable water." The individuals at the heart of this poem aren't contestants out to win a prize. They're ordinary Americans living in cities like Flint, Michigan, where tap water can be deadly and drinking it can have catastrophic consequences: "Drinking from contaminated/waters leads to Legionnaires'/disease, lethal pneumonia,/abandonment, dehydration,/paranoia." Reading Allen's work isn't easy—and it isn't intended to be. The mirror she holds up through her poems will have you seeing yourself and your world in damning, and also revealing, light. Enter these poems with caution, but also with openness. Read them one or two at a time and let them sink in. Allen wastes no words, and none of her words should be wasted by readers. I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley; the opinions are my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dre

    This poetry collection grabbed me swiftly by the throat from the first page and choked me up all the way through. Read some things I wish I couldn't relate to and others I was sad the author had the language to bear witness. Thoughts of scarlet red-lined church pews and my grandma's hands came to mind as the author's poems ushered me down memory lane, reminiscing. Reading The Collection Plate was a full-bodied, complex, and oftentimes heart-wrenching experience. And even with all that this book This poetry collection grabbed me swiftly by the throat from the first page and choked me up all the way through. Read some things I wish I couldn't relate to and others I was sad the author had the language to bear witness. Thoughts of scarlet red-lined church pews and my grandma's hands came to mind as the author's poems ushered me down memory lane, reminiscing. Reading The Collection Plate was a full-bodied, complex, and oftentimes heart-wrenching experience. And even with all that this book was, I still found myself needing more at the end. Those who crave beautiful, yet haunting words of the poetic persuasion will want to add this one to your collection once it publishes on July 6, 2021! ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Thank you, Partner @bibliolifestyle @eccobooks for the gifted ARC! 📚❤

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chanecka

    The Collection Plate knocked the wind out of me at times. The themes explored through these poems were especially meaningful to me. Intially, I thought this would be a collection of poems about religion. While religion or religious jargon is weaved thoughout, Kendra Allen explores so much more. She explore family, love, grief, and community. I can't even begin to explain how water showed up over and over again, holding beautiful metaphors. There were some poems were I wanted more. They did not f The Collection Plate knocked the wind out of me at times. The themes explored through these poems were especially meaningful to me. Intially, I thought this would be a collection of poems about religion. While religion or religious jargon is weaved thoughout, Kendra Allen explores so much more. She explore family, love, grief, and community. I can't even begin to explain how water showed up over and over again, holding beautiful metaphors. There were some poems were I wanted more. They did not feel complete. I was left on edge and not in a good way. However, I was more more wowed than no.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kayla - the.bookish.mama

    Reading this book was an experience. Obviously your mind is processing the words, but it was such a visceral reaction. This book feels so Deep South. It feels raw, and angsty, and like this woman is taking back her power - confronting all the wrong that she has ever experienced. There was so much relating to living as a Black person in this country, to living as a woman, and I think this collection comes at a perfect time. This author explored the dark sides of the church, familial relationships Reading this book was an experience. Obviously your mind is processing the words, but it was such a visceral reaction. This book feels so Deep South. It feels raw, and angsty, and like this woman is taking back her power - confronting all the wrong that she has ever experienced. There was so much relating to living as a Black person in this country, to living as a woman, and I think this collection comes at a perfect time. This author explored the dark sides of the church, familial relationships, grief, love. It’s a heavy read, but worth it. There were a few poems that really stuck out to me, but I really liked “Nobody Told Her About the End of Love.” I was given an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Fred Slusher

    ***Note: I received a free digital review copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*** I try my best to keep up with fresh new voices in the world of poetry. I like work that sidles up next to you and punches you in the face when you’re least expecting it, and Kendra Allen does exactly that. The Collection Plate covers so much ground in so limited a frame, one could almost call Allen a magician. Herein lies poems (songs? psalms?) exploring Black girlhood/womanhood, religion (its redem ***Note: I received a free digital review copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*** I try my best to keep up with fresh new voices in the world of poetry. I like work that sidles up next to you and punches you in the face when you’re least expecting it, and Kendra Allen does exactly that. The Collection Plate covers so much ground in so limited a frame, one could almost call Allen a magician. Herein lies poems (songs? psalms?) exploring Black girlhood/womanhood, religion (its redemption(s) as well as its confines and strictures), sexual politics, family history, the tyranny of memory, and the line(age)s we cross when we decide who we’re going to be. “the pastor is our uncle and our uncle di- / vests me of my volition / back on land / I drip / I dribble, I cough up / who I shoulda been” —from “Evening service” How does one even begin to analyze works this explosive? Poets don’t often compare religious ceremonies, in this case baptism, to a divestiture of one’s own free will, but Allen does so with aplomb and an assuredness that rings true for anyone familiar with charismatic faith traditions. I don’t want to distract from the beauty of this collection with an overabundance of my own commentary, so I’ll just leave it with you like this: I’ve already bought my own copy so I can read it again and again. And again. The Collection Plate: Poems is now available to order wherever books are sold. You can follow Kendra Allen on Twitter @kendracanyou. This review can also be found on my blog, The Voracious Bibliophile, at http://thevoraciousbibliophile.art.blog.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Misse Jones

    Kendra Allen’s debut, The Collection Plate hits the poetry scene with a forceful slam. Weaving together personal experience and cultural exploration she examines themes that emote expressions of angst, loss, sorrow, and grief in a calculated and meaningful way. Each poem has its own unique bop in a sense and rhythm that when read aloud is absolutely phenomenal! ”Ain’t no rallies—ain’t no protests—ain’t no local night news bout a ghetto girl head wound with three babies at home and a daddy on his Kendra Allen’s debut, The Collection Plate hits the poetry scene with a forceful slam. Weaving together personal experience and cultural exploration she examines themes that emote expressions of angst, loss, sorrow, and grief in a calculated and meaningful way. Each poem has its own unique bop in a sense and rhythm that when read aloud is absolutely phenomenal! ”Ain’t no rallies—ain’t no protests—ain’t no local night news bout a ghetto girl head wound with three babies at home and a daddy on his second strike” There are poems that explore freedom, imprisonment, sexuality, and simply what it means to black in the context of today’s society. A few of my favorites included: #FreeMyNiggas but Free My Niggas, I Come To You As Humbly As I Know How, Naked & Afraid, Afraid & Naked, Happy 100th Birthday, and I’m Tired of Yo Ass Always Crying.” Thank you to NetGalley and Ecco for gifting me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Publication Date: July 6, 2021

  12. 5 out of 5

    C

    REad THiS ALOUD!!!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    eindra lin

    i really enjoyed this poetry collection! allen's wordplay and use of line breaks are so refreshing and compelling. i loved the references to many modern pieces of media in evoking her personal experiences of womanhood and Blackness in America. never did i think i would read a poem written after Tiffany Pollard. truly magnificent. kendra allen has this special way of painting brutality without being exploitative and expressing joy without being naive. it's hard to explain but it's so well done an i really enjoyed this poetry collection! allen's wordplay and use of line breaks are so refreshing and compelling. i loved the references to many modern pieces of media in evoking her personal experiences of womanhood and Blackness in America. never did i think i would read a poem written after Tiffany Pollard. truly magnificent. kendra allen has this special way of painting brutality without being exploitative and expressing joy without being naive. it's hard to explain but it's so well done and i would definitely be on the lookout for more of her work! my favorite poems would have to be "Evening Service", "Naked and Afraid" and "Afraid and Naked", "The Super Sadness! Feels Like Anger Which Feels Like", "I'm Tired of Yo Ass Always Crying", and "Gifting Back Bread & Barren Land", but there wasn't a poem that i didn't like!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Richard Propes

    In 2018, award-winning essayist Kendra Allen picked up the Iowa Prize for Literary Nonfiction for her debut essay collection "When You Learn the Alphabet," a timely collection that unquestionably announced Allen as a bold new voice demanding to be heard. With a two-book deal now in hand with Ecco, a HarperCollins imprint, Allen prepares for the debut of her first poetry collection in July 2021 called "The Collection Plate: Poems." It is soon to be followed by a memoir. "The Collection Plate: Poe In 2018, award-winning essayist Kendra Allen picked up the Iowa Prize for Literary Nonfiction for her debut essay collection "When You Learn the Alphabet," a timely collection that unquestionably announced Allen as a bold new voice demanding to be heard. With a two-book deal now in hand with Ecco, a HarperCollins imprint, Allen prepares for the debut of her first poetry collection in July 2021 called "The Collection Plate: Poems." It is soon to be followed by a memoir. "The Collection Plate: Poems" swings and swivels with the rhythms of the Black experience in America, an experience I certainly don't know as a disabled white man but an experience that has been captured by others from Baldwin to Kendi to Brown and others. It still seems like a rarity when we find a collection that surveys the Black experience actually through the Black lens. It's refreshing, yet it's also uncomfortable. You can practically feel Kendra Allen's presence while reading the words contained within "The Collection Plate," whether reading the extended stanzas of the emotionally resonant "Happy 100th Birthday" or becoming immersed in "The Maybe Memory" or the stunning "If You Throw Me in This Water What You're Telling Me is You Want Me Dead." Blackness, sex, and girlhood come vividly to life in these pages that feel as if they should be spoken because you cannot help but feel their rhythms and their demanding of recognition. The Dallas-born Allen finds the light within beauty and brutality, decayed relationships and fragile intimacies. I found myself reading a poem, then reading it again. I often found myself reading "The Collection Plate" aloud and wondering about the person behind these words. There are short poems here, poems like "Our Father's House (IV)," that feel like whispers of life and culture and experience. I occasionally laughed, "I Ain't Never Baked a Thing From Scratch a Day in My Life" comes to mind, while I also shuddered from something close to recognition with "The Super Sadness! Feels Like Anger Which Feels Like." "Afraid & Naked" left me deep in thought. Deep in emotion. "Collection Plates," the same. It takes a mastery of life and love and the written word to capture one's life experiences and one's culture in poetry, but this is precisely what Kendra Allen has done. She has done so masterfully. "The Collection Plate: Poems" is a collection that captivated me and captivates me still as her words became images and these images have seared themselves into my brain and into my heart and into my mind. A fresh new voice seems so incredibly cliche', yet as a young woman in her mid-twenties this is the only phrase I can think of to describe this newcomer whose voice feels older and wiser and like a voice I want to hear from again and again and again.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ives Phillips

    3.5 stars because I simply could not find enough in this collection to warrant raving 5- or 10-star reviews. Allen is a skilled writer, make no mistake: there is wonderful, dark, heavy, twisting imagery in many of the poems that perfectly matches the book cover -- otherworldly, gothic, spiritual, almost Vodun-like. Like reading a diary of Persephone. But there's a question here: when is imagery or flowery language enough for poetry? Personally, I don't find it enough for a collection of poetry tha 3.5 stars because I simply could not find enough in this collection to warrant raving 5- or 10-star reviews. Allen is a skilled writer, make no mistake: there is wonderful, dark, heavy, twisting imagery in many of the poems that perfectly matches the book cover -- otherworldly, gothic, spiritual, almost Vodun-like. Like reading a diary of Persephone. But there's a question here: when is imagery or flowery language enough for poetry? Personally, I don't find it enough for a collection of poetry that is essentially a memoir in verse. Some poems read more like spells being cast than a commentary on Black exploitation and the ruination of Black womanhood, and some read like nonsense slam poetry. The formats used in the collection don't help the poems, either. That is because, besides two poems that used the odd formatting well to add to their depth (and one of them, who said good folk ain't supposed to die is basically empty pages like a grave plot for the lives lost) the strange formatting added nothing to the poems. The poems should have been strong on their own without a reliance on stanza mangling and large line break. They felt more like artistic liberties taken rather than a unique and interesting twist on a literary device. Despite all of this, I would not say that this was a wholly unenjoyable read, and this actually makes me want to follow Allen to see their writing flourish over time.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Padmaja Reddy

    There seems to be a connection between poetry and pain. Kendra Allen’s “The Collection Plate” is no exception. Poems carved with passion, agony and anguish reveal the experiences and emotions of black lives. Her bold and demanding tone emerges powerful with apt phrases and genuine craft. Poetic expressions like ‘A family name can mean something; that way we can share the same death bed, that way I work for cheap….. and request to forget mornings…’, ‘digging her dynasty out of me so she can save i There seems to be a connection between poetry and pain. Kendra Allen’s “The Collection Plate” is no exception. Poems carved with passion, agony and anguish reveal the experiences and emotions of black lives. Her bold and demanding tone emerges powerful with apt phrases and genuine craft. Poetic expressions like ‘A family name can mean something; that way we can share the same death bed, that way I work for cheap….. and request to forget mornings…’, ‘digging her dynasty out of me so she can save it….’, Yet I still don’t know the difference between pleasure and penetration’ certainly leave a solid impact on the reader. My favorite poems are ‘Solace by Earl’, ‘I am the note Held Towards the End’, ‘Gifting back Barn and Bread’ and ‘I come to You as Humbly as I Know’.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tya C.

    I was immediately drawn to The Collection Plate because of that beautiful cover! However, while I was reading, the main question I continued to ask myself while reading this was “Do I not understand poetry or is this book just not good at all?” These poems were not easily readable. I usually enjoy poems that are more straightforward, but lyrical. I don’t like poetry where I have to decipher every single line. But maybe that’s just me. I’d recommend it to someone who enjoys poems with a more com I was immediately drawn to The Collection Plate because of that beautiful cover! However, while I was reading, the main question I continued to ask myself while reading this was “Do I not understand poetry or is this book just not good at all?” These poems were not easily readable. I usually enjoy poems that are more straightforward, but lyrical. I don’t like poetry where I have to decipher every single line. But maybe that’s just me. I’d recommend it to someone who enjoys poems with a more complicated writing style. There were a few poems that I enjoyed though, like “I’m Tired of Yo Ass Always Crying” and “Happy 100th Birthday”. I think this collection just wasn’t my style.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sirena Bebee

    As a first read of contemporary poetry, I found this collection quite interesting. Kendra used an intriguing style of writing and structure throughout. It's hard to critique poetry, because interpretation of poetry is unique to each person. The Collection Plate was indeed a collection plate of things: god, confessions, observations, experiences. There was a lot of water imagery, knitting the poetry tighter together. I really enjoyed the sister poems and evening service. There were times I was unsur As a first read of contemporary poetry, I found this collection quite interesting. Kendra used an intriguing style of writing and structure throughout. It's hard to critique poetry, because interpretation of poetry is unique to each person. The Collection Plate was indeed a collection plate of things: god, confessions, observations, experiences. There was a lot of water imagery, knitting the poetry tighter together. I really enjoyed the sister poems and evening service. There were times I was unsure if the structure of every poem was correct as I was reading an uncorrected proof. Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. I am grateful to have been able experience this collection of poetry.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    Thanks to NetGalley and Ecco for this e-arc in exchange for an honest review. This is an intimate poetry collection that is so lyrically beautiful and profound. I feel that if I read this in paperback format, it would be even more engaging than on my Kindle. There is a note in the beginning of the book pretty much stating this because digital formatting for a book like this can be difficult with the different types of reading devices and stuff--totally understandable. So yes, there were moments o Thanks to NetGalley and Ecco for this e-arc in exchange for an honest review. This is an intimate poetry collection that is so lyrically beautiful and profound. I feel that if I read this in paperback format, it would be even more engaging than on my Kindle. There is a note in the beginning of the book pretty much stating this because digital formatting for a book like this can be difficult with the different types of reading devices and stuff--totally understandable. So yes, there were moments of weird formatting but it wasn't that difficult to look over due to the fact it was written so well. I am not an expert of poetry or anything but I thought this was a really good collection and unique. I liked the authors style and cadence through all the poems. 4/5

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elliot

    Fierce and unflinching this collection is full of bite. The language is staccato and rhythmic, lending itself well to being read aloud. At the same time Allen makes interesting and full use of the page, using white space to her advantage, and even in one case layering words on top of one another. Beautiful and brutal in equal measure these poems are deeply personal while touching on greater lived experiences of family, brutality, Blackness, the feminine, pain, and faith.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Suradha

    Thank you NetGalley for an advanced readers e-copy of this book. This collection is full of clever, honest poetry and takes a reader through a full range of emotions without saying much at all. The series of themes that spans the collection is abuse, sexism, sex and love, home and death and content warnings apply. The words themselves aren't graphic at all but they're vivid. I'd personally love to see them being performed some day. Thank you NetGalley for an advanced readers e-copy of this book. This collection is full of clever, honest poetry and takes a reader through a full range of emotions without saying much at all. The series of themes that spans the collection is abuse, sexism, sex and love, home and death and content warnings apply. The words themselves aren't graphic at all but they're vivid. I'd personally love to see them being performed some day.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    Poetry is tough to review because it’s so personal and means something different to everyone. I really liked this collection together - it told me a lot about the author and had some incredibly clever formatting and positioning. I love when authors use the space on the page to get creative with their poems. I think the two poems that moved me the most were Naked & Afraid and Afraid & Naked. These poems together offer a crushing commentary on clean water access.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Neerja

    I received this ebook via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is a collection of poems that explores the various topics of finding identity, sex, relationships etc. It was quite complex but powerful at the same time. I am not someone to read poetry often but it was a good one. It liked reading this book but it was a bit complicated for my taste. Still I would recommend it if you like reading poetry.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    The Collection Plate of poems was brutally honest and depressingly woke. Allen's eccentric style of writing left me heart wrenched page after page. While I can admit I had several befuddled moments during this read, I discovered that (for me), this collection was to be read in my own privacy without a mere distraction. Only then was I able to connect to Allen in her themes of conflicted relationships, both within herself and others, and within society. All and all, a marvel. The Collection Plate of poems was brutally honest and depressingly woke. Allen's eccentric style of writing left me heart wrenched page after page. While I can admit I had several befuddled moments during this read, I discovered that (for me), this collection was to be read in my own privacy without a mere distraction. Only then was I able to connect to Allen in her themes of conflicted relationships, both within herself and others, and within society. All and all, a marvel.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Raven Black

    Some of the poems are straight forward, others have a more poetic way of speaking. Some poems deal with death, some with life, some with God, some with mothers and some all of that and more all at once. Allen is not an easy read. This collection is not one you should start with if you are looking to jump into the poetry pool, but it is a collection to read it you are looking for a new voice dealing with this thing called life.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vera West

    I found the bursts of poetic imagery to be quite beautiful but the abstractness of the poems outweigh their tangibility and I often found there wasn't enough for me to sink my teeth in. I felt a disconnect that I couldn't get over which was frustrating because I wanted to be fully submersed in this world the poet created. I found the bursts of poetic imagery to be quite beautiful but the abstractness of the poems outweigh their tangibility and I often found there wasn't enough for me to sink my teeth in. I felt a disconnect that I couldn't get over which was frustrating because I wanted to be fully submersed in this world the poet created.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sofia

    I had a hard time with this collection of poetry, a lot of it was because of the very strange formating of the poems. I am all for artistic licensing but when there were words all over the page I was not sure what the point was. While some of the poems were really good a lot of them were hard to understand.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    A collection of raw and emotional poems. If you are looking for love poems/ feel good poems this is not it. These are the type of poems that portray the strong emotions and dark language. Filled with portrayals of hurt and anger towards the system. Thank you Netgalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Abandoned at 15%. Probably just not the right time in my life for this poetry. I thought I would connect with the subject (growing up in a church, identity formation) but the audiobook is just languishing in my downloads.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    This book of poetry contains an interesting collection of the evaluation and critique of today's society. Formatted in a unique fashion, the author discusses topics that range from religion to societal constructs. It is a very interesting read. This book of poetry contains an interesting collection of the evaluation and critique of today's society. Formatted in a unique fashion, the author discusses topics that range from religion to societal constructs. It is a very interesting read.

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