Title: Nothing is Okay
Author: Rachel Wiley
Publisher: Button Poetry
Publication Date: February 20th 2018
Page Count: 96
Summary: “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 molds these topics into a punching critique of culture and a celebration of self. A fat positive activist, Wiley’s work soars and challenges the bounds of bodies and hearts, and the ways we carry them.” (Source: Goodreads)
Content Warnings: fatphobia, sexual language, biracial identity discrimination, queerphobia, racism, sexual assault, historical rape
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Have you ever picked up a book and been completely overwhelmed by its brilliance and power? This is it, people.
Nothing is Okay is one of the best poetry books that I’ve ever read, and you know what makes it so amazing? Nothing is Okay slowly takes your heart out of your chest and crushes it with its own self-love. I’m serious – this book is overwhelming. I love it.
Nothing is Okay pretty much discusses all aspects of the poet’s identity – being a feminist, fat, queer, biracial woman. There is actually a poem dedicated to her identities. It’s amazing. As much as it is about self-love and saying heck you to the world, Nothing is Okay is filled with pain of years of abuse from horrendous relationships, fatphobia, biracial discrimination, and heartbreak. Maybe the title informs reader that there will be people who will challenge you, your existence, but the most important thing is for you to remember that you are everything.
As much as the collection was a delight to read, Wiley’s poetry is intense and unrelenting. My favourites were ‘But They Say I Will Not Make It’, ‘Notes on Depression’, ‘A Plague of Doubts’, ‘Fat Joke’, ‘When We Were Kings, One Day’, and so many more. Wiley is an amazing poet; she crafts her words with such precision and power. Every word is there and every word will wound you and/or heal you. As a fat person, I have struggled with my fatness and using the word ‘fat’, but Wiley just takes all of those negative thoughts and chucks them out of the window. Wiley’s words will empower you.
On a side note, I was surprised by the amount of sexual language and references in the book, it is quite a lot! Sometimes I enjoyed the humorous sexual innuendos, but most of the time, I skipped over them. You definitely need to be in a certain mood to read ‘those’ poems.
I read this collection in late August 2018, but it is still as vivid in my mind as the day I read it. I definitely will be rereading this book at some point in the future. I will not stop recommending it.
That’s my review! Hope you enjoyed it! Let me know below your thoughts!
Until next time, be brave & bookish!