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Olivia Gatwood’s Debut Poetry Collection Is The Book I Wish I Had As A Teenage Girl

To say Olivia Gatwood is a powerhouse of a poet still somehow feels like an undersell. Widely known for her spoken word performances, Gatwood has just released her debut poetry collecting,. With unflinching integrity and a sharp tongue, Gatwood consistently breaks down stereotypes and explores the elation, the victory, the expectations, the violences, the questioning and all that comes with contemporary American womanhood.

( Basically, this volume is GOOD. Severely, it’s good .)

If you need a little more convincing, I’ll let Olivia do what she does best. I’ve included 8 of my own personal favorite excerpts. But frankly, it feels a bit like picking a favorite child. You love them all. You genuinely, really do.


” I am nine.
We are bored
and Karen is dying.

We drove to Austin that summer
so Sarahs dad

who described Karen as

of their own lives, who taught us

the word lymphoma and then,
the concept of the prefix,
how it explains where the tumor lives

could say goodbye .”


” blush so pink i saw it on a commercial
blush so pink on cable television
blush so pink the model dips her thumb in the jar
and slides it across her cupcake cheeks
so pink i save up seven dollars
so pink i walk to the pharmacy
so pink the makeup aisle is a soda fountain
strawberry milk in the mini carton
blush so pink like panther
like raspberry lemonade feather boa newborn shower
so pink like holiday for love
blush so pink i wish it was my name”


” Reina is upset that I am American
and not rich. These two details interrupt everything
Reina has ever been made to believe in the church
of MTV, in which she learned
that along with a new American best friend,
Reina deserves a new American
best friends momsuburban queen
and a new American best friends brother
who will take her to second base in our cellar,
but unfortunately for Reina,
we dont have a basement, we live in the Sunset Motel
where I collect snails and feed chicken and ketchup
sandwiches for dinner .”


” i slam down the glass until it cracks up the side and now the game is about who will still drink from it, who will hazard shards in the belly, who will cut up their insides for a pack of newports and its not that i even want the cigarettes, its just that i am not afraid of blood which is also part of being a girl. but being the only daughter means stimulating yourself lose when youve won too much so i bouncing the coin off the rim of the shot glass and let johnny slice me open .”


Manic Pixie Dream Girl says

Ill be a vintage dress with an empty prescription
bottle, good daughter, just bad enough

a burp
and a curtsy,

let me be not too pretty
hair fried from all of that pink dye

sex when you need it puppet when youre bored,
let me construct myself smaller than you,

let me apologize when I get caught acting bigger than you.
Let me always wait for this, let me work for this .”


” I felt like a school teacher
who goes home to no children,
a cab driver without a auto,

a therapist who cries
in the middle of the night
and cant figure out why .”


” i am twenty-four and have never wept. once, a boy told me he doesnt’ believe in labels’ so i embroidered the word chauvinist on the back of his favorite coat. a boy said he liked my hair the other route so i shaved my head instead of my pussy .”


” they will tell you home is safe zone
no, bitch face is safe zone,
bitch face is home
bitch face is cutting off the ladder
willing to burn in the apartment
if it means he cant get in .”

To order, click here .

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