Book Review: All Heathens by Marianne Chan

A few months ago I agreed to review All Heathens in exchange for an honest review. A few months ago was a different time, not only in America but in the World. There was no global pandemic. We weren’t all working from home and praying that our friends and family members didn’t die on a daily basis.

There was no toilet paper shortage when I agreed to review this book and after reading the blurbs singing Marianne’s praises saying things about how the poems were “full of fire and laughter, airports, and the most unexpected dream-portals.” I couldn’t wait to get my grubby little paws on it.

Marianne Chan is a phenomenal writer. Her observances take the reader on an emotional eye-opening exploration of the highest order. From Momotaro in the Philippines, “And as I arise from the dreamy fluid- oh, the America, which preserves me.” to Counterargument That Goes All the Way Around, “making country out of family, family out of country,

All Heathens is the perfect read during a Pandemic.

Every day as things get worse and we hold our collective breaths I think of this book. I think about how Marianne Chan explores Colonialism. Which makes me think of travel which is a large part of how we got here in the first place.

As our elected officials seem to scramble and make deplorable decisions I think of the priest in Forgive Them for They Do Not Know What. Of him yelling at someone who made an accident. Of what it means to be human and how being human, now more than ever in my history, feels so absolutely fragile.

Like this collection I am full of hope for what will be and I’m so very grateful for the poetry in this collection which is helping me to get through this pandemic.

5 Stars and let’s all agree to be better humans.

All Heathens was released by Sarabande Books on March 24, 2020 and can be purchased from your favorite local literary store or from Amazon.

The Thing I’m Obsessed With.

Friday was the Book Release Party for my new Poetry Book Brownish Green Female  Sheep. It was my first book release so I have nothing to compare it to but to me it was the most amazing Book Release ever. The venue, Ybor City Barbering Company Barbershop and Bar, was beyond perfect. The atmosphere was ELECTRIC. My best friend since 7th grade snuck in the night before which made the night even more special and I was surrounded by friends, family, and associates, the majority of whom all bought the book!!

I was on cloud nine the entire time. Electric from my frazzled nerves and the endless supply of Mimosas the fabulous bartender kept sending my way. My wife, in true AB fashion ensured that the guests were having a great time, my best friend managed me and the book purchases, Sheree L. Greer my mentor/dear dear friend/cohost along with the ridiculously talented Samira Obied hosted the show in epic fashion. So when I tell you that it was the dope show, I mean that in all caps. DOPE SHOW!

I don’t know that I would’ve asked for anything more… Except while taking pictures with my family one of my brothers said to me, “you’re fat you need to work out.” To which I replied “I work out at least twice a week”. To which another sibling replied “you need to work out more than that.” I’m not going to go into anything about how I don’t need their help to lose weight, how I’m struggling with candida, or how neither of them is an authority on weight loss. I’m just not.

For some background, I’m the oldest child and my siblings don’t really know about my eating disorder. They don’t even really know me like that. So I’m not even mad at them  for saying what they said. They don’t know how I hate my body most days. How I work out with my trainer and feel super happy with my progress until I stand in front of the mirror naked. They hadn’t read the book so while they knew that the book was about love, they don’t know that the longest poem in the book is dedicated to Anna. One of my most secret friends. Or she was, I haven’t seen her in years, though I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about her daily.

They don’t know. They couldn’t know. So I don’t fault them for taking one of the best days of my life and dampening it a little by talking about my weight, they’re humans, and one thing that humans are good at is offering criticisms and critiques as if we would die without doing so. But, If I had one wish, it would be that  we as a society  stopped commenting on things like weight. We have no idea what the other person is truly struggling with.

If you or someone you know is struggling with food obsession you can speak with someone in your local community or at Eating Disorder Hope.

To read Anna You can purchase Brownish Green Female Sheep from my publisher Vital Narrative Press or from Amazon.