Other People's Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night
Winner of the 2013 Gatewood Prize, selected by Eileen Myles
"I love these poems by Morgan Parker. They tell everything exactly like it is, and they don't let us off the hook—about how we run this country, about race, about how we spend our time. They treat our private, public, and online lives with all the love and scorn they deserve. They hit you with the authority and moral clarity of Langston Hughes, and have the omnivorous eye of Frank O'Hara. They have a New York School sensibility, but it's a new New York—a more polarized, unequal, and privileged New York. These poems are also just beautiful. You will want to say them to yourselves." —Matthew Rohrer
" 'Honesty,' says one of Morgan Parker's speakers, 'is uncomfortable and funny.' And how apt, how acrobatic and unflinching Parker is in bearing this thesis out. Her work roves the surfaces of our American lives—gathering up material from reality TV, from the many products we consume and are shaped by, from the sound of America in our mouths, and the racket of it in our ears. These poems are delightful in their playful ability to rake through our contemporary moment in search of all manner of riches, just as they are devastating in their ability to remind us of what we look like when nobody's watching, and of what the many things we don't—or can't—say add up to. Other People's Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night is hilarious and hard-hitting, and it ripples with energy, insight, and searing music." —Tracy K. Smith
"I can and have read Morgan Parker's poems over and over. They make me high and think like this: Her mind and her thoughts can go anywhere in a poem. She pulls us up short, and when she says 'the sky the sky' I feel that expanse... I start taking notes: She is making a map of what human can be... she's raucous and engaged... indeterminate, visceral... collisions... these are full adventures in scale... Morgan Parker is both intellectual and concerned. Where sentences come from (in me) breaks down when I read these poems. There are piles of masterpieces here. 'I'm not like the king of black people,' to point you to one. She writes history and pleasure and kitsch and abstraction, then vanishes like a god in about 13 inches and I mean that is really cool." —Eileen Myles
Morgan Parker is the author of There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé (Tin House Books 2017) and Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night (Switchback Books 2015), which was selected by Eileen Myles for the 2013 Gatewood Prize and a finalist for the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award. Parker received her Bachelors in Anthropology and Creative Writing from Columbia University and her MFA in Poetry from NYU. Her poetry and essays have been published and anthologized in numerous publications, including The Paris Review, The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, Best American Poetry 2016, The New York Times, and The Nation. Parker is the recipient of a 2017 National Endowment of the Arts Literature Fellowship, winner of a 2016 Pushcart Prize, and a Cave Canem graduate fellow. She is the creator and host of Reparations, Live! at the Ace Hotel in New York. With Tommy Pico, she co-curates the Poets With Attitude (PWA) reading series, and with Angel Nafis, she is The Other Black Girl Collective. She is a Sagittarius, and she lives in Brooklyn.