For the record, I don’t really know how to review poetry, so this is probably going to be a very brief review.
That said, Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman is excellent! I enjoyed seeing the different types of poems—there are some form poems, erasure poems, found poems, some metered and rhyming poems, some free verse. But they all have such strong imagery and themes. I read this in a single day, and it was a great experience.
Gorman explores various topics, all of them timely and important: isolation during the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, patriotism, racism, and so on. These are serious topics, of course, but Gorman showcases a moving sense of optimism and empowerment. She acknowledges that these things can be troubling or exhausting or hopeless-feeling sometimes, but she clearly believes that the fight is worth it.
I really liked lots of these (actually, I didn’t dislike a single one), but a few of my favorites were: “Another Nautical,” “Alarum,” “Earth Eyes,” “Pan,” the entire Fury & Faith section, “The Miracle of Morning,” “Essex II,” and of course “The Hill We Climb.” But really, all of these are so great.
Even if you don’t normally read poetry (in other words, if you’re like me), I encourage you to read this. Gorman’s command of the English language is marvelous, and the emotions her words evoke are strong. This is a fantastic poetry collection, and I look forward to seeing what else she writes in the future!