Fat Girl Finishing School is the first full-length collection of poems from Rachel Wiley, the Queer-Biracial-Feminist poet, performer and body-positive activist whose work spans from body image, to love and loss, and feminism. Fat Girl Finishing School is a love letter to the body. When confronted with fatphobia, sexism, misogyny, and shame each poem chooses self-love, despite society’s expectations. This is a book steeped in experience, every story is striking, powerful, and unmistakably palpable.
I can very much relate to this book. Unfortunately, eating disorders and anxiety are very real issues that are really hard to talk about and tackle, but this book did a great job of it. As a woman who deals with many of these issues every day, many of these verses resonated with me deeply.
Wiley’s poems create a striking and very real commentary on important issues in our society. But this collection of poems covers much more than just eating disorders―gender, race, and faith are just a few of the various themes these poems touch on. These are more than just poems; they are special stories of the struggle for personal growth, self acceptance, and understanding the human experience. More than just a book about one single identity, Fat Girl Finishing School makes intersectionality multi-dimensional.
We are too much.
We are not enough.Gorgon, Rachel Wiley
Some of the best poems in the collection are the most difficult to read. Shutter calls out selfie culture while Gorgon calls out the fashion industry, and Wife Material provides a grand commentary on stereotypes within the home.
Brass Knuckles is an ode to feminist activism: “We are not done yet.” These poems force us to face reality for what it is, showing us exactly why the world makes us feel less-than on a daily basis, and why we can not stand for it. Wiley has a wonderfully simple way of expressing politics through poetry; identifying the problem and rejecting it. “We are meeting the horizon line to tell it our demands.“
The Love Letter To My Body poems are some of my favorites in the collection. These poems know what it feels like to be judged, and what it takes to rise above. Instead of showing us what is wrong with the world, these poems show us what is right within ourselves. They tell the reader it is okay to accept yourself as you are. Full of acceptance and confidence, they proclaim you are worthy. You are enough.
Nothing is Okay (2018) 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.
Available at Button Poetry and Amazon.
Rachel Wiley is a performer, poet, feminist, and body positive activist from Columbus, Ohio. Rachel has represented Columbus at multiple National Poetry Slam Competitions and was a finalist twice in 2011. She is on staff at Writing Wrongs Poetry Slam and the co-host/co-founder of the Columbus Queer Open Mic. She has toured nationally performing at slam venues, colleges, and festivals. Her work has appeared on Upworthy, The Huffington Post, The Militant Baker, and Everyday Feminism.
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A big thank you to the publishers at Button Poetry for providing a free ARC!