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New American Best Friend

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  1,858 Ratings  ·  214 Reviews
One of the most recognizable young poets in America, Olivia Gatwood dazzles with her tribute to contemporary American womanhood in her debut book, New American Best Friend. Gatwood's poems deftly deconstruct traditional stereotypes. The focus shifts from childhood to adulthood, gender to sexuality, violence to joy. And always and inexorably, the book moves toward celebrati ...more
Paperback, 49 pages
Published March 28th 2017 by Button Poetry
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Bree Hill
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Life comes fast. One minute you're taking typing classes for your new secretary job in the World Trade Center and the next it's all almost over, life I mean, but I kicked and screamed my way through it, and so will you." This is small piece from the very last poem in New American Best Friend called "Ode To The Women On Long Island." This small quote from the poem in my opinion summarizes up this entire collection of poetry.

Olivia Gatwood paints such a descriptive and vivid portrait of adolescen
Amelia's Fantastical Bookends
I picked up this book because I saw one of Gatwood's readings of her poem "Ode to the Women on Long Island," and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So, being me, I decided to actually pick up her other works, realizing that maybe, just maybe, I had found a contemporary poet that I liked.

And I was very wrong.

This.... this is not poetry, or at least it doesn't seem like that to me. The same issues that other people had with Rupi Kaur's "Milk in Honey" in how it seemed to "try to hard" and was just a couple
A. Blumer
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I saw this one in the GR Awards for a Poetry nomination, and a good friend happened to have given me this book a while ago. It was still on my Unread pile so I was like "what the heck?" It was just a little book.

It was more than just a little book. It was growing up with blood seeping through your teeth. It was falling in love while watching them die horribly. It was looking at trash trampled by the everyday commute and finding a way to dine on it by candle light.

I wish I could've voted for this
João Calafate
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing poetry.
Some of it I read, some of it my girlfriend read it to me and was perfect, another bit I listened to Olivia Gatwood's perfect performances in Button Poetry. Every person, female or male or in between, should read this.
Leah Harter
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hello everyone, today I am writing about a book that is a little bit different. Normally, I only talk about fiction on here, but there will probably be more poetry in the near future. I will admit that going into this I was already a little bit biased. I have watched Olivia Gatwood’s slam poems countless times. I was ecstatic when I learned of her book and I am extremely biased. With that being said, I highly recommend reading this book.

My Rating: A

Poems: This book includes some of my favorites
Rowan Bradley
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I'm consistently amazed by Olivia Gatwood
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Olivia Gatwood is everything I like about poetry. I have been a huge fan of her poetry from YouTube videos. Her delivery and performance is absolutely amazing. I was worried that a reading her poetry on paper wouldn't be as good as seeing it performed. I wonder if I would have enjoyed her poetry as much without seeing her perform. But either way I really enjoyed New American Best Friend.

Olivia Gatwood has one of the best voices I have ever read in poetry. Olivia Gatwood is super intelligent, fu
Amanda Van Parys
Okay, I'm not a fan of poetry, like, at all but Olivia Gatwood's poetry is fundamentally badass and please read it. You'll see why when you do.

Read for the 2018 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: A one-sitting book
Andrea Vega
Leído para el maratón #GuadalupeReinas. Un libro se poesía.
Alicia Billingsley
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing loved every piece of it! If you love poetry this is a must read. Just bought it and read it. Going to buy the non kindle version to hold in my hand. I need more. A few favorite lines "Like maybe he is the kind of man who only screams when he is underwater or lets me feel how strong his fingers are without actually touching me.".... "left over from the other universe are hours and hours of waiting for him to kiss me and here, they are just hours."..... "head spun three-sixty exorcist bitc ...more
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gatwood is real and raw and unafraid to address the uncomfortable. Her introspection into coming of age has something in it for everyone. She has a voice that is all her own, even when that voice doesn't quite know who it is. You may just find yourself coming to appreciate the world around you and things you hadn't before in a new light after having briefly glimpsed the world through her lens.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Button Poetry standout leaps from stage to page.

If you're not familiar with Button open up another window and just spend some time on their YouTube page. This will get you familiar with the company's roster of slam poets, many of whom are getting publishing deals and becoming the next big things in the poetry world (examples: danez smith, Morgan Parker, Sam Sax, etc.). To see if you would enjoy this collection in particular, find the videos for "Manic Pixie Dream Girl Says," "Ode to My Bitch F
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it
I can appreciate the writing style. She is obviously a very talented poet. She has a sharp wit, a direct, dry writing style that doesn't bother with polishing up the rough spots. If it's difficult, it's difficult... that's how she will write about it.

However, it just wasn't the book for me. I suppose it's because I'm a guy, as cliche as that sounds. But honestly, I don't know how I'm supposed to react to poems about period panties.

Some of the poems were pure gold (Ode to Women of Long Island, Dr
Brandon Forsyth
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I can't think of a better review of this than Carrie Fountain's, which is blurbed on the back of the book: "these poems are the future." The last time a book hit me this hard was Melissa Broder's SO SAD TODAY, and I think the two of those books are truly exciting in the way they carve out space for women to speak about their experiences with sexuality. I really wish this had been called something more evocative though, like "Ode To My Bitch Face", which speaks better to the raw, visceral quality ...more
Elena ( The Queen Reads )
curly-sue, nail polish, pastel coiled phone cord, strawberry milk shake
designed by her mother
to ensure she would grow up
the kind of girl who cries
when the boy does not love her-

in an instant
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
“Alternate Universe in Which I Am Unfazed by the Men Who Do Not Love Me” is perfection. “Ode to My Bitch Face” is a close second. Overall, quick and definitely worthwhile read.
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Absolutely astounding.
Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it
"maybe he is the kind of man who only screams when he is underwater or lets me feel how strong his fingers are without actually touching me"

For some reason I thought this was a memoir, and then I got it from the library and was like lol. It's poetry, which I guess is a kind of memoir. I got off to a slow start with this. I was getting these very Milk & Honey vibes where it just felt like a lot nonsensical structural choices for announcing cliches about girlhood and body hair and the lipstick
Cody Lakin
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I work in a bookstore, and I discovered this small collection by accident. When books of poetry come in, I like to open them up to a random page and see how I feel about just one of the poems. In this way I sift through a lot of bad poetry—mostly the “internet poets,” who are so popular lately, and rarely deserving of it. But I opened “New American Best Friend” to a random page, read a poem called “What Sex Becomes,” and actually said “Oh, wow” involuntarily aloud, had to take a moment to ab
Gervanna Stephens
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gatwood has you reeling from the start. She shocks and taunts and makes you laugh from her tales of childhood and being a teenage girl. Being from the Caribbean, Jamaica precisely, I can relate to the heat of the region in Port of Spain, and the fact that yes, Americans don’t really play Cricket, and people and their misguided perceptions can be demanding. She speaks to the teenage girl and makes the adult female reminisce on things we were not allowed to question as a child. Gatwood writes abou ...more
Erika B. (SOS BOOKS)
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I want to write a poem for the women on Long Island
who, when I show them the knife I carry in my purse,
tell me it's not big enough, who are waitresses
and realtors and massage therapists and social workers
and housewives and nannies and tell me they wish
they would have been artists but
Life comes at you fast. One minute you're taking typing classes
for your new secretary job in the World Trade Center
and the next it's all almost over, life I mean, but I kicked
and screamed my way through it, and
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, ebook, favorites
One word: wow. This should be on a mandatory reading list for everybody. It is a quick read, not because of the short number of pages but due to the fluidity of the writing. She is a fantastic composer who sculpts an idea in your mind for each piece. Hard, soft; happy, sad; intellectual, gut; in the moment, reflective.

I liked all the pieces, every single one. I did flag a few, though this is not meant to diminish the other pieces as they are as good. These ones simply caught my attention the fir
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am a 34 year old man. I am not part of the demographic that this book originates from and will speak to the clearest. Its not for me, or at least not most of all. But I'm grateful I read it, that it was published, that strangers like me get to read poems like these.

New American Best Friend gave me a glimpse into a world I can't know firsthand. Gatwood's language is all rough and cunning and skillful, sometimes displaying hard adolescence like a good war film. I was queasy at the end; I was que
McKenzie Richardson
Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic.
There are poems that you want to read once for the sake of reading and then be done with them forever. These poems are not like that. These are poems that you will want to read again and again. Absolutely amazing.
I really enjoyed Gatwood's various odes, but all of the poems have something unique in them. They are so raw and real. Sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, these poems really make the reader feel their emotions and words. Gatwood really captures the essenc
I've decided to make some attempts at reading poetry, something I've never really had an interest in and that I've also been intimidated by. As I'm still getting a feel for the genre, I won't be rating the poetry collections I read, at least not for a while. Unless, of course, I really love or hate something.

This was pretty fantastic though, as far as I'm concerned, with standouts being "Ode to My Bitch Face," "Ode to the Women on Long Island," "Bubblegum or Bruise," "Manic Pixie Dream Girl Says
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I learned about Olivia Gatwood on Facebook when a friend posted a video of her reading "Alternate Universe in Which I am Unfazed by the Men Who Do Not Love Me." I was immediately enthralled. I waited patiently for the book to arrive at the Library...and let me say, it was worth the wait. I feel like this poetry collection should be required reading for all young women...and probably all young men too. I don't read many collections of poetry, but I now want to read all of her work.
Tabitha Vohn
I was familiar with Gatwood's work thanks to the Brave New Voices poetry slam. "Ode to Norma Jean" was a poignant piece. I was thrilled to discover an entire collection of her poems and was not disappointed.

Her recollections of childhood were my favorite pieces. I admired her candor and also her courage in the transparency was rawness of these poems.

I look forward to more from this talented artist.
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've never been a big fan of poetry, but now I think that's because I've never found poetry that I've connected with...until now. This entire collection is amazing, I found them really accessible and wonderfully written. It's hard to pick a favorite but "Ode to the Women on Long Island" is amazing and I've probably read it six times already.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Review coming soon.
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Honestly I am captivated by this woman’s work! She is truly inspirational. Her words wrap me up and indulge. Certain lines leave me thinking all day. I highly recommend!
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“They will tell you home is safe zone.
No, bitch face is safe zone.
Bitch face is home.
Bitch face is cutting off the ladder,
willing to burn in the apartment,
if it means he can't get in.”
“ALTERNATE UNIVERSE IN WHICH I AM UNFAZED BY THE MEN WHO DO NOT LOVE ME when the businessman shoulder checks me in the airport, i do not apologize. instead, i write him an elegy on the back of a receipt and tuck it in his hand as i pass through the first class cabin. like a bee, he will die after stinging me. i am twenty-four and have never cried. once, a boy told me he doesn’t “believe in labels” so i embroidered the word chauvinist on the back of his favorite coat. a boy said he liked my hair the other way so i shaved my head instead of my pussy. while the boy isn’t calling back, i learn carpentry, build a desk, write a book at the desk. i taught myself to cum from counting ceiling tiles. the boy says he prefers blondes and i steam clean his clothes with bleach. the boy says i am not marriage material and i put gravel in his pepper grinder. the boy says period sex is disgusting and i slaughter a goat in his living room. the boy does not ask if he can choke me, so i pretend to die while he’s doing it. my mother says this is not the meaning of unfazed. when the boy says i curse too much to be pretty and i tattoo “cunt” on my inner lip, my mother calls this “being very fazed.” but left over from the other universe are hours and hours of waiting for him to kiss me and here, they are just hours. here, they are a bike ride across long island in june. here, they are a novel read in one sitting. here, they are arguments about god or a full night’s sleep. here, i hand an hour to the woman crying outside of the bar. i leave one on my best friend’s front porch, send my mother two in the mail. i do not slice his tires. i do not burn the photos. i do not write the letter. i do not beg. i do not ask for forgiveness. i do not hold my breath while he finishes. the man tells me he does not love me, and he does not love me. the man tells me who he is, and i listen. i have so much beautiful time.” 13 likes
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