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Every now and then a book of poetry comes along that knocks the wind out of you every few pages. Good Boys is one of those books. In "White People Always Want to Tell Me That They Grew Up Poor," Megan Fernandes writes, "my daddy holds storms / from a world you've never seen // He is a doctor / because // it was a way / to unbury // his dead. // I want to say: / It is not me you hate." You need these poems.
In an era of rising nationalism and geopolitical instability, Megan Fernandes’s Good Boys offers a complex portrait of messy feminist rage, negotiations with race and travel, and existential dread in the Anthropocene. The collection follows a restless, nervy, cosmically abandoned speaker failing at the aspirational markers of adulthood as she flips from city to city, from enchantment to disgust, always reemerging—just barely—on the trains and bridges and bar stools of New York City. A child of the Indian ocean diaspora, Fernandes enacts the humor and devastation of what it means to exist as a body of contradictions. Her interpretations are muddied. Her feminism is accusatory, messy. Her homelands are theoretical and rootless. The poet converses with goats and throws a fit at a tarot reading; she loves the intimacy of strangers during turbulent plane rides and has dark fantasies about the “hydrogen fruit” of nuclear fallout. Ultimately, these poems possess an affection for the doomed: false beloveds, the hounded earth, civilizations intent on their own ruin. Fernandes skillfully interrogates where to put our fury and, more importantly, where to direct our mercy.
About the Author
Megan Fernandes is the author of The Kingdom and After. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, Tin House, Ploughshares, Pank, Guernica, and the Academy of American Poets, among others. She is a poetry reader for The Rumpus and an Assistant Professor of English at Lafayette College. She holds a PhD in English from the UCSB and an MFA in poetry from Boston University. She lives in New York City.
The poetry of Megan Fernandes gives me courage to get up another day and fight the patriarchy & racist nationalism. Her limitless imagination and beautiful, lyrical, powerful lines are worth fighting for. Everyone should give this book to someone they love, and everyone should love someone enough to give them this book. — Brenda Shaughnessy, author of The Octopus Museum
If there is no ethical consumption under late capitalism, our job is to figure out how to move through this world while causing it the least harm. “I like when the choices are both ugly,” Megan Fernandes writes in Good Boys, and then she shows us: rocks and hard places, guns and snowbanks, there and here. It’s a staggering text—ferocious, vulnerable, funny, ambitious, and deeply rigorous. What can a poet do for people, for a planet, literally dying of human greed? Fernandes answers: “I map / the storms // of the whole world.
— Kaveh Akbar, author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf
What I learned from you is how/not to be a body,' Megan Fernandes asserts in her evocatively beautiful collection Good Boys, musing in a later poem, 'How some of us laugh while hunted.' These are poems of haunting and hunting, of bodies that are remade in different cities, of family and its legacy, of immigration and what it takes from us. The collection traverses time and place, meditating on the ways love shatters and recreates us all, particularly when it intersects with being othered. Fernandes writes compellingly of the dislocation that comes with migration: 'My daddy is not a thing like your daddy,' she says. 'Our house was not a thing like your house.' Alike or not, this house of poems contains tremendous light.
— Hala Alyan, author of The Twenty-Ninth Year
Magnificent in its tumultuous yet savvy voicings, its pain transformed into cadence, its personal yet generous stagings of self. — Rosanna Warren