Reviews

Reviews of Maybe the Saddest Thing

"Action painting meets the pop of hip-hop. Here is a dashing figure of speech and preach, a lovepoet to the stars....Marcus Wicker['s] lyric wizardry astounds the ear in conclamant melodies and astonishes the eye 'like a shard of glass catches a beam'."
— D.A. Powell, Author of Chronic

"Marcus Wicker has, as Mos Def and Talib Kweli did, made an art that bridges cultures….The dialogues, love letters, and reflections throughout this wonderful debut show us what it is to be in vigilant conversation with the world and with the self."
— Terrance Hayes, Author of Lighthead, Winner of the National Book Award

"Wicker preaches an urgent gospel of pop-culture, desire, adolescence, race, and family, that says "Hell yes" to the world with deft turns of phrase, and a rhythmic inventiveness that hurtles down the page. This fearless debut will make your head spin, your heart strut." — Erika Meitner, Author of Ideal Cities

"Wicker writes poems whose timely pleasures keep verging on timeless sorrows, and where the social issues of our time persistently evoke enduring human need. In the process, he captures the odd ways that our larger-than-life moment lives inside our pending irrelevance—and the compassion such knowledge allows." — Jonathan Farmer
Read more of this review from Slate

"Dense with echo and vibrant with syncopation, Wicker's debut deploys a festive panoply of characters from African-American culture and music to make serious claims about memory, sadness, race, self-consciousness, and desire." — Publisher's Weekly

"Wicker's exquisite narrative chops give the sense of associative meandering, coaxing us into forgetting that each tiny step has been choreographed, leading us to the place of astonishment where we look back and see the path we've been treading is illuminated."
— Kendra DeColo
Read more of this review from Muzzle

"Like a telegram, Wicker's poems seem immediate, urgent. If we read them in a hurry, it's because we want to know what they say, what they offer us. If we read them again, it's because we're caught up in Wicker's cerebral syllabic beat boxing and, like a good hook, they get stuck in our heads." — Emilia Phillips
Read more of this review from 32 Poems

"Wicker steeps himself in the world and lets it all simmer around him, noting every detail: its every shade and its every smell. He knows that living is an exciting challenge that we face every single day, no matter how famous we are." — Kien Lam
Read more of this review from Indiana Review [PDF]

"This is Wicker at his best: a quietness of details, a precedence of his own flow over the history of hip hop and jazz that make footholds throughout Maybe the Saddest Thing, and a means to manage making his readers participants." — Christine Holm
Read more of this review from Hayden's Ferry Review

"Marcus Wicker has a mind that behaves and misbehaves on the page in rap and jazz, shifting our focus, finding us deeper perspectives — his love, life, joy, pain, writing the divine in every damn thing." —Grace Cavalieri
Read more of this review from the Washington Independent Review of Books

"Wicker's control of these poems begins with his usage of tone, and ends with the earned confidence that the material of these poems can accumulate into questions rather than conclusions." — Nick Ripatrazone
Read more of this review from Third Coast