feminism · poetry · review

Nothing Is Okay – Rachel Wiley

“There will be years when you feel bruised like worlds collided.
So, when they ask (and they always ask) what you are
Tell them that you are made up of whole worlds collided
Supernova beautiful in its violent right to exist.”

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Blurb: “Nothing is Okay is the second full-length poetry collection by Rachel Wiley, whose work simultaneously deconstructs the lies that we were taught about our bodies and our beings, and builds new ways of viewing ourselves. As she delves into queerness, feminism, fatness, dating, and race, Wiley moulds these topics into a punching critique of culture and a celebration of self.”

Trigger Warnings: eating disorders, body shaming and rape.

Rachel Wiley has been one of my favourite poets ever since I first saw her performance of 10 Thoughts On Being Loved By A Skinny Boy on the Button Poetry Youtube Channel. I just simply adore the “no-BS” manner she exudes during her readings and it’s actually taken me quite a while to find out that she has not one, but two, poetry collections. Nothing Is Okay features a lot of well-known poems (to those familiar with her work) such as Belly Kisses, Fat Joke, and Glory In Two Parts. The overall theme of the collection ranges from female empowerment, body image and loving yourself unapologetically.

This collection is absolutely brilliant. Rachel Wiley’s attitude just leaks from the pages and I could perfectly picture all the ways she would perform every poem in this book. So many lines and full stanzas stuck out to me that I ended the reading experience having highlighted nearly the entire collection. She has this magical way of using just the right images to convey the intended message and it’s often something the reader could never have conjured on their own. And the overall arc had the perfect mix of serious and funny.

A lot of my, already firm, favourites were in this collection but I came away with new ones such as “The Opposite Of Up” which is reverse pick-up lines and had me laughing so much I thought I might break a rib.

If you’re new to poetry, Nothing Is Okay will be the perfect way to dip your toe in the water. If you’re familiar with poetry, well it can’t hurt to indulge in this one too!

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