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Please Come Off-Book (Button Poetry)

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Please Come Off-Book queers the theatrical canon we all grew up with. Kantor critiques the treatment of queer figures and imagines a braver and bolder future that allows queer voices the agency over their own stories. Drawing upon elements of the Aristotelian dramatic structure and the Hero's Journey, Please Come Off-Book is both a love letter to and a scathing critique of Please Come Off-Book queers the theatrical canon we all grew up with. Kantor critiques the treatment of queer figures and imagines a braver and bolder future that allows queer voices the agency over their own stories. Drawing upon elements of the Aristotelian dramatic structure and the Hero's Journey, Please Come Off-Book is both a love letter to and a scathing critique of American culture and the lenses we choose to see ourselves through.


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Please Come Off-Book queers the theatrical canon we all grew up with. Kantor critiques the treatment of queer figures and imagines a braver and bolder future that allows queer voices the agency over their own stories. Drawing upon elements of the Aristotelian dramatic structure and the Hero's Journey, Please Come Off-Book is both a love letter to and a scathing critique of Please Come Off-Book queers the theatrical canon we all grew up with. Kantor critiques the treatment of queer figures and imagines a braver and bolder future that allows queer voices the agency over their own stories. Drawing upon elements of the Aristotelian dramatic structure and the Hero's Journey, Please Come Off-Book is both a love letter to and a scathing critique of American culture and the lenses we choose to see ourselves through.

30 review for Please Come Off-Book (Button Poetry)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily B

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC of this book. This is a really strong collection of modern poetry. Many poems are touching and heartbreakingly raw and had a big impact on me. I’d love a physical copy I could visit again and again.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gerhard

    'I am sure that man and woman is not all a body can be.' Wow, what is not to like about such a bawdy, intimate, tender and life-affirming collection of verse, especially when it contains such gems as ‘There are not Enough Songs about Eating Ass’. This is my introduction to Kevin Kantor (they/them), a spoken word poet, teaching artist and queer activist, among others. This is not my first introduction to Button Poetry though, which is quickly making a name for itself as the ‘go to’ publisher for s 'I am sure that man and woman is not all a body can be.' Wow, what is not to like about such a bawdy, intimate, tender and life-affirming collection of verse, especially when it contains such gems as ‘There are not Enough Songs about Eating Ass’. This is my introduction to Kevin Kantor (they/them), a spoken word poet, teaching artist and queer activist, among others. This is not my first introduction to Button Poetry though, which is quickly making a name for itself as the ‘go to’ publisher for speculative modern poetry. Despite the fact that poetry is a compact, bite-size literary form that makes it ideal for our crazy pandemic world – which is showing no signs of going back to normal anytime soon; I am looking at you, second, third and even fourth wave – people remain defensive about not reading poetry. It is ‘too difficult’, is the usual caveat. ‘I don’t understand it’, is another favourite. Do you understand every last word of any novel you have read? My advice is to choose a poet and collection that appeals to you, and then to just give yourself over to the experience. In the hands of a genuinely gifted artist like Kantor, it is a hugely liberating experience. It seems kind of ‘in your face’ to structure a poetry collection about the perils and triumphs of being non-binary as a performative work. There are fragments of plays, random dialogue, citations and even an extended play on movie awards and titles. It does not sound cohesive, but it works. Kantor’s collection is organic and accretes slowly in the reader’s consciousness. Of course, this is also a nod towards Judith Butler’s theory of performativity, who argues that gender is a social construct. Kantor engages with social theory via his lived experience, and never resorts to polemic. This makes a poem like ‘I Am Sure’, about male rape, incredibly powerful and devastating to read. Despite the seriousness of the themes that Kantor tackles, this is also a delightfully playful, sassy and often very sexy collection: From wonderful word games such as a poem called ‘Subtext’, which is simply a text block of ‘fuck off’ with a don’t go slap bang in the middle, to ‘Once Upon a Time in Iowa’ So once upon a time in Iowa, a once upon a time boy lived locked away in a high tower – or a state school’s freshman residence hall – occupied by trolls – or the junior varsity lacrosse team – to the lyrical ‘Character Study: Cesario Helps Ganymede Redress in the Dark’ We are from different stories, could only ever whisper in the wings, & yet the men who found us, love us share a sound that would suggest The possibility of something else

  3. 5 out of 5

    •°• gabs •°•

    i am always wary of modern poetry and i think we all know why, but when i saw the cover and read the description i just. couldn't NOT read it. the play-like structure worked incredibly well and even though i am not the biggest fan of theatre, i really loved it. as for the poems, long story short i teared up a few times. being non-binary myself, some lines really hit way too close to home. the twists and reinterpretations of stories like peter pan, hamlet, romeo and juliet, ah, it's one of my fav i am always wary of modern poetry and i think we all know why, but when i saw the cover and read the description i just. couldn't NOT read it. the play-like structure worked incredibly well and even though i am not the biggest fan of theatre, i really loved it. as for the poems, long story short i teared up a few times. being non-binary myself, some lines really hit way too close to home. the twists and reinterpretations of stories like peter pan, hamlet, romeo and juliet, ah, it's one of my favorite things ever. i am a sucker for queer retellings of famous books and even though they were merely mentioned here in a few lines, i adored them all. also, all the criticism towards hollywood and and how it treats lgbt+ actors and characters, yes SAY IT LOUDER. i won't lie, at some points i felt like i was reading a diary or some tweets and it took me out of the mood a bit, but for the most part, this was very good, especially the first 30% or so. trigger warnings: mentions of child death, rape, misgendering ARC provided by NetGalley but all opinions are my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Althea

    Please Come Off-Book is a powerful punch-to-the-gut poetry collection that simultaneously felt like a comforting hand on the shoulder letting me know that, maybe my feelings are, in fact, valid, as a fellow nonbinary person. I am not generally a fan of the 'modern' style of poetry that this book features, but I found myself really resonating with so many of the poems throughout, and I thought the style actually really lent itself to it. I cannot recommend Kevin Kantor's poetry enough, bought to Please Come Off-Book is a powerful punch-to-the-gut poetry collection that simultaneously felt like a comforting hand on the shoulder letting me know that, maybe my feelings are, in fact, valid, as a fellow nonbinary person. I am not generally a fan of the 'modern' style of poetry that this book features, but I found myself really resonating with so many of the poems throughout, and I thought the style actually really lent itself to it. I cannot recommend Kevin Kantor's poetry enough, bought to poetry lovers and poetry sceptics, like myself! TW: rape, sexual assault, self harm, suicide, alcoholism, transphobia, homophobia, slurs, abusive parents, family illness, death, covid-19 pandemic Thanks to Netgalley and Button Poetry for an e-ARC in return for an honest review!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

    I received an Earc in exchange for an honest review. Firstly, I loved the authors commentary on gender. Slipping it on and off and not knowing how it ‘fits’ them yet. Gender diversity is an important part of the LGBTQIA community that’s only now starting to be discussed and explored more. That being said, I don’t think this book was for me. I’m not a theatre kid, nor do I know the nuances of theatre culture. This poetry collection was more theatre heavy than I expected. As such, I don’t feel lik I received an Earc in exchange for an honest review. Firstly, I loved the authors commentary on gender. Slipping it on and off and not knowing how it ‘fits’ them yet. Gender diversity is an important part of the LGBTQIA community that’s only now starting to be discussed and explored more. That being said, I don’t think this book was for me. I’m not a theatre kid, nor do I know the nuances of theatre culture. This poetry collection was more theatre heavy than I expected. As such, I don’t feel like I connected as deeply with the poetry as I would have liked. So for that reason I’m giving this book a two stars. This wasn’t the book for me, but don’t let my review stop you from picking it up. This poetry collection focuses on some important issues and in the right hands, it could be a five star book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anwen Hayward

    ARC received in exchange for a review, so I won't copy out any of my favourite lines just in case anything changes. I absolutely adored this one. Button Poetry really hasn't missed a step yet, as far as I'm concerned, and this is another phenomenal collection. Kantor was previously unfamiliar to me but I'd love to check out more of their work after reading this. The majority of poems here discuss gender through the lens of performance, and although that might sound trite, it isn't. Kantor's genuin ARC received in exchange for a review, so I won't copy out any of my favourite lines just in case anything changes. I absolutely adored this one. Button Poetry really hasn't missed a step yet, as far as I'm concerned, and this is another phenomenal collection. Kantor was previously unfamiliar to me but I'd love to check out more of their work after reading this. The majority of poems here discuss gender through the lens of performance, and although that might sound trite, it isn't. Kantor's genuine love for the theatre shines through, not just as a metaphor for the performativity of gender and relationships, but for the love of the theatre itself. There's a real respect and adoration for their subject here. I will say that I found the poems which were more directly responding to plays less resonant than some of the ones which used theatre as a more distant metaphor, but that's just because I don't have the frame of reference that Kantor does; I'm not a theatre geek. For me personally, my favourite poems here were the ones that spoke about their family and in particular the death of their brother. I shed a very small and silent tear at my desk in work a few times reading those. I just love Kantor's use of language and imagery and will absolutely be picking up a physical copy of this one.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Aiya

    Thank you netgalley for the e-arc I absolutely adore queer poetry. I can never actually sit down and read poetry unless it in some way relates to me. My favorite stanza was probably on page 88, in A Poem in Which All But One of Those Queer Characters does, in fact, die. Kantor just casually dropped this as if I wasn’t going to start sobbing at 2 am “& I get it / we’ve all had to play straight & cis before / on stage / on screen / in gas station parking lots / my grandfather’s funeral / nobody paid Thank you netgalley for the e-arc I absolutely adore queer poetry. I can never actually sit down and read poetry unless it in some way relates to me. My favorite stanza was probably on page 88, in A Poem in Which All But One of Those Queer Characters does, in fact, die. Kantor just casually dropped this as if I wasn’t going to start sobbing at 2 am “& I get it / we’ve all had to play straight & cis before / on stage / on screen / in gas station parking lots / my grandfather’s funeral / nobody paid me / but at least I got to live / so forgive me / Hollywood / if when you say checked box I hear unmarked grave / how brave / to bear the lesson / of someone else’s death” This collection took me on an insanely wild ride, as I began to understand Kevin Kantor in a way that’s only possible when someone bares their heart on the page. I was surprised to realize how much Kantor and I actually have in common, and I’m excited to see what kind of work they do next.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Kelly

    Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a review copy Wow. Just wow. It's been a while since I found a poetry collection that I connected with on this level which, for a debut collection, really surprised me. Kevin Kantor managed to strike the perfect balance between beautiful lyrical and metaphorical writing, while remaining accessible to people who are maybe newer to poetry. I think my favourite poem of the collection was Stage Makeup Syllabus, but honestly, scrolling back through the book, so Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a review copy Wow. Just wow. It's been a while since I found a poetry collection that I connected with on this level which, for a debut collection, really surprised me. Kevin Kantor managed to strike the perfect balance between beautiful lyrical and metaphorical writing, while remaining accessible to people who are maybe newer to poetry. I think my favourite poem of the collection was Stage Makeup Syllabus, but honestly, scrolling back through the book, so many of the poems stood out to me and none felt like filler. I will 100% be buying this collection when it is released and I heartily encourage you all to do the same, whether you tend to read poetry or not.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Becks

    This is a stunning collection, probably one of my favourite modern poetry collections that I've read over the last couple of years. I'm always eager for more work by queer, nonbinary artists and this felt like exactly what I was looking to read right now. So much so that I read it in one sitting. Despite it being in a similar wheelhouse to other collections I've read recently, it surprised me at every turn. It was a thrill to read how they used their passion for theatre as a thread throughout the This is a stunning collection, probably one of my favourite modern poetry collections that I've read over the last couple of years. I'm always eager for more work by queer, nonbinary artists and this felt like exactly what I was looking to read right now. So much so that I read it in one sitting. Despite it being in a similar wheelhouse to other collections I've read recently, it surprised me at every turn. It was a thrill to read how they used their passion for theatre as a thread throughout the collection, how they turned classic works like Shakespeare into potential queer works. I think anyone who's going to be into poetry like this will enjoy that thread. The frankness around loss and addiction and suicidal thoughts took me aback and yet had a deep familiarity to it. Loss on all levels - whether it's death or someone no longer in your life or the rejection of family that many lgbtq people will recognise. Overall I really enjoyed this one and there are stanzas from it that are sure to echo in my head for a while to come. Thanks to Button Poetry for the ARC via Netgalley, it was a joy to read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Arlan Alviz

    I received this ARC through NetGalley. I don't know exactly what it is about this kind of modern poetry that draws me in—perhaps the accessibility or the relevance (or both). Either way, I loved this collection. An amalgam of inventive style and raw emotions, Please Come Off-Book is a poignant book propelled by Kantor's naked musings on their nonbinary experience and strengthened by their exacting writing. I stan! I received this ARC through NetGalley. I don't know exactly what it is about this kind of modern poetry that draws me in—perhaps the accessibility or the relevance (or both). Either way, I loved this collection. An amalgam of inventive style and raw emotions, Please Come Off-Book is a poignant book propelled by Kantor's naked musings on their nonbinary experience and strengthened by their exacting writing. I stan!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel

    ARC given by NetGalley for Honest Review Please Come Off-Book is a fantastic collection of poetry filled with delicious metaphor, non-binary rage, and beautifully honest emotion. The use of stage cues, scripts, dramaturgy, and scene directions is innovative and will draw any theatre lover in. It's refreshing to see more non-binary actors write and stand up for the queer misrepresentation in the theatre and arts. My personal favorite poem was "Essential." ARC given by NetGalley for Honest Review Please Come Off-Book is a fantastic collection of poetry filled with delicious metaphor, non-binary rage, and beautifully honest emotion. The use of stage cues, scripts, dramaturgy, and scene directions is innovative and will draw any theatre lover in. It's refreshing to see more non-binary actors write and stand up for the queer misrepresentation in the theatre and arts. My personal favorite poem was "Essential."

  12. 4 out of 5

    nidhi

    This book is soo good!! It had been a long time since I read a poetry book and I totally loved that I picked this one. I loved the unique writing style and the author's upfront style of writing. They are unabashed and straight-forward with their words and they hit so hard. I am a huge fan of Button Poetry and I am so glad to have my hands on this book. It is truly an amazing one, thank you so much for the copy NetGalley! This book is soo good!! It had been a long time since I read a poetry book and I totally loved that I picked this one. I loved the unique writing style and the author's upfront style of writing. They are unabashed and straight-forward with their words and they hit so hard. I am a huge fan of Button Poetry and I am so glad to have my hands on this book. It is truly an amazing one, thank you so much for the copy NetGalley!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Avery

    “I am sure that a man and woman is not all a body can be.” Poetry has always been a genre that I am wary of. But when I came across this one, I was sure I wanted to read this. The novel is structured in a play format and queers the theatrical culture we all grew up with. The poem titled, ‘people you may know’ which talks about coming across a rapists Facebook’s profile, that one has to be my favourite. Having been through a similar incident, I could totally relate to the poem. I was so thankful for “I am sure that a man and woman is not all a body can be.” Poetry has always been a genre that I am wary of. But when I came across this one, I was sure I wanted to read this. The novel is structured in a play format and queers the theatrical culture we all grew up with. The poem titled, ‘people you may know’ which talks about coming across a rapists Facebook’s profile, that one has to be my favourite. Having been through a similar incident, I could totally relate to the poem. I was so thankful for the author to write it. It felt like I belonged, like I was not alone and there are people out there like me, people who feel the same way I do. The book made me cry so many times and stirred my soul at some points. There are mentions of queer reimaginations of classics like Peter Pan and Hamlet. Those were one of my favourite parts of the book. Another part that I really like about the book is that it talks about how the media treats/continues treating the LGBTQIAPD+ Characters in fiction viz. giving straight actors awards for playing queer characters, killing off the only queer characters in the narrative, etc. The book as a whole is totally worth the read. Trigger warnings- death, rape, misgendering. Thankyou #NetGalley for providing a Digital copy of the book in exchange of a honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bob Hughes

    This is a fascinating and varied collection of poems that draws a truly interesting line between theatre (the author's passion) and the daily 'performance' of gender and sexuality, families, relationships, (mental) health and sex. Images of the stage and being on show appear regularly, and contrast and interplay beautifully with ideas of identity and societal expectation. In an especially powerful poem, 'I Am Sure', Kantor recounts their harrowing experience of sexual assault, and the fallout fro This is a fascinating and varied collection of poems that draws a truly interesting line between theatre (the author's passion) and the daily 'performance' of gender and sexuality, families, relationships, (mental) health and sex. Images of the stage and being on show appear regularly, and contrast and interplay beautifully with ideas of identity and societal expectation. In an especially powerful poem, 'I Am Sure', Kantor recounts their harrowing experience of sexual assault, and the fallout from it, from both the shame and discomfort felt when reporting it, but also in friends and family not knowing how to respond. These lines in particular, about their assault, stopped me in my tracks: it felt like every room of my home being broken into at the same time remember how busy you were trying to figure out how they got in that you forgot about the person living there - Alongside more harrowing poems in this collection are some gentler, more playful ones, and the collection overall has a nice balance. Kantor's non-binary identity is explored from many angles, from a mother wondering if she can still call Kantor their "son", to trying to understand how bodies and sexual identity intersect, and even to Kantor sat at a funeral in a man's suit, angry at the idea that they cannot wear what they would want to for fear of being attacked, whilst also knowing that they would most likely be buried in a suit as it is the 'acceptable' thing to do. This collection was a pleasant surprise, and I think it is one that deserves to be treasured and re-read. Thank you to Net Galley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin Marie

    4.5/5 stars. Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read this arc. "I name myself            if I call myself hers                        it will sound like a lie" p. 40 Please Come Off-Book is a powerful and impactful piece that will cause you tears. Although it has its flaws, it was fantastic. Will definitely read it again in the future. I am a huge fan of poetry; however, I have been really sick of modern poetry, so I was nervous to read a modern poetry book. This book, though. It took me from one 4.5/5 stars. Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read this arc. "I name myself            if I call myself hers                        it will sound like a lie" p. 40 Please Come Off-Book is a powerful and impactful piece that will cause you tears. Although it has its flaws, it was fantastic. Will definitely read it again in the future. I am a huge fan of poetry; however, I have been really sick of modern poetry, so I was nervous to read a modern poetry book. This book, though. It took me from one emotion to another. I think it was the second poem that I was enjoying, but from that one on, the book grew on me. I even enjoyed the prose when I typically don’t like prose mixed with poetry. In this piece, I think the prose really brings the piece together with the extra explicit details in it. I really enjoyed all of the references. I could see in those moments how people may be confused or not enjoy it because of the very obvious references. I do think at some point the modern references are too much, especially in the poem “Essential.” However, I love the "rewrites." "The Director Gives Me Notes After Our First Run-Through" was incredibly well done. It had me screaming dangs. It was powerful and impactful. Honestly, I want to keep listing poem, but they were all so incredible.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    *ARC provided by both NetGalley and The Publisher in exchange for an honest review* Okay wow. This has just taken my top spot for my favourite poetry book. This incredible collection tells stories of family, Hollywood, queerness, representation, mental health, SA and so much more. This is my first time with Kevin Kantor's writing style, and I absolutely adore it. Their words are mostly minimalist, which makes poems far more enjoyable (in my opinion), and the formatting of the book itself is perfect. *ARC provided by both NetGalley and The Publisher in exchange for an honest review* Okay wow. This has just taken my top spot for my favourite poetry book. This incredible collection tells stories of family, Hollywood, queerness, representation, mental health, SA and so much more. This is my first time with Kevin Kantor's writing style, and I absolutely adore it. Their words are mostly minimalist, which makes poems far more enjoyable (in my opinion), and the formatting of the book itself is perfect. The structuring of the collection as a play added an incredible flow to the poems, and really pulled me into their story. I've always loved the things button poetry put out, and this collection has completely taken the cake. Incredible. Please please please read this collection.

  17. 5 out of 5

    agnese

    "please come off-book" is a raw and beautiful poetry collection that i devoured in a day. i always try to pace myself with poetry so i can savor it and digest each poem better, but this collection was different. the language is very accessible, and the themes, though at times unsettling, were often relatable to me. this is i what i wanted Night Sky with Exit Wounds by ocean vuong to be when i heard the words "LGBTQ poetry collection." ARC provided by NetGalley but all opinions are my own "please come off-book" is a raw and beautiful poetry collection that i devoured in a day. i always try to pace myself with poetry so i can savor it and digest each poem better, but this collection was different. the language is very accessible, and the themes, though at times unsettling, were often relatable to me. this is i what i wanted Night Sky with Exit Wounds by ocean vuong to be when i heard the words "LGBTQ poetry collection." ARC provided by NetGalley but all opinions are my own

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lex

    I was immediately drawn into the cover and description of this poetry book, and that interest never stopped. The poetry was gorgeous always and heartbreaking almost-always. I loved how Kantor played with different styles and formats for each poem. It is clear how personal every poem is to Kantor, and I’m grateful to have been given the chance to learn more about their perspective and how they connect their gender identity to theater. There were times where I thought the poems were a little repet I was immediately drawn into the cover and description of this poetry book, and that interest never stopped. The poetry was gorgeous always and heartbreaking almost-always. I loved how Kantor played with different styles and formats for each poem. It is clear how personal every poem is to Kantor, and I’m grateful to have been given the chance to learn more about their perspective and how they connect their gender identity to theater. There were times where I thought the poems were a little repetitive, and that is the only reason I did not give it a full five stars. Overall, I recommend this to both poetry and theatre lovers. Disclaimer: I received a e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

  19. 5 out of 5

    gabi nogarol

    I cried reading this book, seriously. Kevin Kantor makes poetry in a such a beautiful and delicated way. While you find confort in their words, it feels like a punch in the throat. Mixing dramaturgy with poetry, they make an incredible fruit salad of poems and feelings. Even thought i'm a cis woman, the poems about being lgbtq+ resonate in me, as a lesbian. I want to read more from them! And more poem from non-binary writers too. I cried reading this book, seriously. Kevin Kantor makes poetry in a such a beautiful and delicated way. While you find confort in their words, it feels like a punch in the throat. Mixing dramaturgy with poetry, they make an incredible fruit salad of poems and feelings. Even thought i'm a cis woman, the poems about being lgbtq+ resonate in me, as a lesbian. I want to read more from them! And more poem from non-binary writers too.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Seher

    Thank you NetGalley for this ARC! I was genuinely surprised by how much I liked this; I have very low expectations of modern poetry these days. I found this really honest and well-written.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lola

    Please Come Off-Book has everything I need in a poetry collection: it's queer, it feels like it's written by someone who is both very smart and was once or currently is an extra theater person, and at some points it really hurts my heart. Kantor is a strong voice in poetry that I look forward to hearing more from. Definitely recommended! Please Come Off-Book has everything I need in a poetry collection: it's queer, it feels like it's written by someone who is both very smart and was once or currently is an extra theater person, and at some points it really hurts my heart. Kantor is a strong voice in poetry that I look forward to hearing more from. Definitely recommended!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shruthi

    Check out my blog, Reading Recluses for the full review of Please Come Off-Book! I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any way. I love Kevin Kantor perhaps more than anyone else in the world(sorry mom). Anyone who knows me well, is probably well aware of this fact. I have seen all of their slam poetry that exists on youtube so I was unbelievably excited to get to read this through netgalley. Thank you book gods. For thos Check out my blog, Reading Recluses for the full review of Please Come Off-Book! I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any way. I love Kevin Kantor perhaps more than anyone else in the world(sorry mom). Anyone who knows me well, is probably well aware of this fact. I have seen all of their slam poetry that exists on youtube so I was unbelievably excited to get to read this through netgalley. Thank you book gods. For those of you who are unaware of Kevin Kantor’s existence (first off, how is that possible?), here are some of my favourite slam poems of theirs! A Letter From Cancer highlights their recitation skills, Honest Confessions on Letting Go is hilarious and People You May Know is very powerful. Kevin Kantor’s poetry always feels very emotional and personal. They seem to draw inspiration from their life which leads the poetry to feel very authentic. I, as a self-professed coldhearted cynic who didn’t find The Fault in Our Stars at all sad, have been drawn almost to tears by Kantor’s poetry. One of my favourite poems from this collection (that I had not heard before is The Man Playing My Father. THE MAN PLAYING MY FATHER while rehearsing a scene, the man playing my father sits with me at our kitchen table. I have just come out to him & he is begging me against our rich imagined history—the oak tree in the backyard, the snow-shoveled path to the rose garden, an oversized blue sweater—to take it back. & then the fiction falls away. the tree, three wooden crates, the stone path & our kitchen, taped outlines on the rehearsal room floor. & he is again just the man I met two weeks ago in a city neither of us have ever called home. when we reach the end of the act we drift back to ourselves with someone else’s tears still in our eyes, straddling the divide between a fabricated familiarity and cheap greenroom coffee. while rehearsing a scene, the man playing my father calls me beautiful—as he is scripted to—& because he is very good at his job, or perhaps, because we have so far suspended our disbelief in accepting our kitchen is made of tape, I believe him. I can see the roses through the frosted window where there are no roses or window & so here, l am beautiful. & then the fiction falls away. while rehearsing a scene, the man playing my father misgenders me—as he is scripted to—& I need not conjure a snowstorm indoors to make this real. to so many, to my own father, my gender has always been the tape on the floor, uncomplicated boundaries I have naively imagined to mean something more. when we reach the end of the act, I am still trans & fatherless all over again.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This poetry collection is really interesting in the way that it takes the theme of theatre, performance, play, and drama and weaves that into every poem. The style of poetry throughout is very much a continuation of the slam poetry or button poetry phenomenon and it definitely does have that feel for it, for example the long breaks line breaks the use of the space on the page to indicate pauses and emphasis on certain words. However, I feel that where it could have fallen into that trap of surfa This poetry collection is really interesting in the way that it takes the theme of theatre, performance, play, and drama and weaves that into every poem. The style of poetry throughout is very much a continuation of the slam poetry or button poetry phenomenon and it definitely does have that feel for it, for example the long breaks line breaks the use of the space on the page to indicate pauses and emphasis on certain words. However, I feel that where it could have fallen into that trap of surface level "instagram poetry" - a phrase which I'm not particularly fond of, but it serves its purpose here - I found that the author actually managed to transcend that by incorporating a lot of techniques or technical writing elements that really help to enhance the message of each poem. I particularly loved the double entendre present in a lot of these pieces! This collection also has a lot of humour throughout it, so for example here are a couple of lines that I particularly liked: "and I will be damned if I can't have my cake and eat ass too" "Because there wasn't enough room for expectation-defying-mind-expanding-binary-obliterating-gender-sorceress under special skills, so." While there is a lot of humour, there's also a lot of complicated emotions explored in here. Sometimes the change would really be quite stark, which worked sometimes, though not all the time. Particularly towards the second half of this collection, it feels as though the author has gotten into the groove, or maybe I as a reader have just gotten the hang of the writing style; either way, I enjoyed the latter portion more than the previous portion. One poem that stood out to me in it's simplicity yet the emotional weight was "Dress Rehearsal: My Grandfather's Funeral". My favourite line in the entire collection comes at about 80% (-ish) in: "so glory to the queers who live to see the credits roll glory to the blockbusters that are not built upon a curb stomp" This combination of the technical writing, the atmosphere of the theatre embued in every poem, the emotion behind the words, and the little elements of humour really made this an enjoyable collection to read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    When I saw this book - a poetry collection by a non-binary author, about theatre! - I immediately knew I wanted to read it; I am extremely pleased to say that it lived up to my hopes. "Please Come Off Book" is a powerful, poignant collection of modern poetry built around major themes of gender, queerness, theatre, and family. These are often the explicit subjects of poems, but just as often are framing devices or casual asides; making their presence known, but not overpowering the more immediate When I saw this book - a poetry collection by a non-binary author, about theatre! - I immediately knew I wanted to read it; I am extremely pleased to say that it lived up to my hopes. "Please Come Off Book" is a powerful, poignant collection of modern poetry built around major themes of gender, queerness, theatre, and family. These are often the explicit subjects of poems, but just as often are framing devices or casual asides; making their presence known, but not overpowering the more immediate or specific topics of the poems. Kantor is unafraid to play with form and style, and the results are very effective; the words of one poem shape a sailboat and waves, and another plays with line spacing in an almost disorienting experience. Throughout, the language is gorgeous, the images are vivid, and the emotions are unfiltered and powerful. I found the majority of the poems to be beautifully crafted and evocative; there were a few which did not, in my opinion, match the emotional resonance and loveliness in language of the rest of the poems, but on the whole I was extremely impressed. Writing good poetry is hard, and Kantor does it well. Some personal favorites (I've abbreviated the longer names for ease of readability in review format!) : "My Mother, Pregnant With Her Third Child ..."; "Character Study: Enkidu"; "Stage Makeup Syllabus"; "The Man Playing My Father"; "Dress Rehearsal: Final Dress". I very much hope we'll see more poetry from Kantor in the future! Thanks to Netgalley and Button Poetry, for providing me with an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Poptart19 (ren)

    4 stars Narrative, identity, meaning—this is a creative & touching poetry collection that resonates a lot with me as a queer person & someone who loves art & tells stories. The poems are creative & piercing. The language is rich & thoughtful. The whole collection forms a narrative in itself, the way it’s constructed & stitched together. Really well done. [What I liked:] •I love free verse poetry because it gives precedence to the words—the right word at the right time, whether or not it fits a rhym 4 stars Narrative, identity, meaning—this is a creative & touching poetry collection that resonates a lot with me as a queer person & someone who loves art & tells stories. The poems are creative & piercing. The language is rich & thoughtful. The whole collection forms a narrative in itself, the way it’s constructed & stitched together. Really well done. [What I liked:] •I love free verse poetry because it gives precedence to the words—the right word at the right time, whether or not it fits a rhyme or meter. This collection uses free verse to explore form & convention beyond that, with creative formats like a course syllabus, a shot list, other drama-inspired ones, & several with their own unique shape. There’s some cool stuff. •These poems are so full of life, & heartbreak, & the magic of childhood, & what stories are & mean. They touch on gender, race, sexuality, sexual violence, & personal trauma with the strength & hope of survival & self acceptance. There is variety of theme, mood, style, & content, yet the voice & style is cohesive. [What I didn’t like as much:] •There are maybe 3 or 4 poems I didn’t really understand. It felt like there wasn’t enough context or content for me to really grasp what was going on. It could just be I didn’t read closely enough, & I should go back & read again & just sit with it awhile. But these few poems were the exception, & with the rest of the poems I had something to grab onto & connect with. CW: r*pe, misgendering, transphobia & homophobia (including some slurs), mentions of substance abuse [I received an ARC ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you for the book!]

  26. 5 out of 5

    ella ☆ any pronouns

    I received an eARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Wow is genuinely all I have to say here. Since quarantine, I've struggled with my own gender identity fairly consistently in the months following. Hell, I still am, but Kantor's poetry collection made me feel seen in a way I haven't felt represented or understood before. For this, I am grateful I decided to pick this one up. There are some TRIGGER WARNINGS, however that are important to know before going in. These include rape/ I received an eARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Wow is genuinely all I have to say here. Since quarantine, I've struggled with my own gender identity fairly consistently in the months following. Hell, I still am, but Kantor's poetry collection made me feel seen in a way I haven't felt represented or understood before. For this, I am grateful I decided to pick this one up. There are some TRIGGER WARNINGS, however that are important to know before going in. These include rape/sexual assault, abusive parents, self-harm and suicide, family death, COVID-19, general illnesses, LGBTQIAP+ phobia including homophobia as well as transphobia and usage of slurs. The above list was taken from Althea's review as they were able to put together a list way more comprehensive than I could've. Anyway, I know this book hasn't been released yet nor is it from a well-renowned author, but if you are interested in reading more queer stories from queer authors, Please Come Off-Book will no doubt become one of your favorites, too. (Also, from someone who's been acting in plays/musicals since before middle school, I absolutely adored the theatre references throughout; however, they may not be for everyone.)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Calista

    Book TW: transphobia, homophobia, sexual assault; death; suicidality Note: I received this eARC from NetGalley in order to provide an honest review. As you’ll notice, I didn’t give this book a star rating, the reason for that is just that giving a numerical value to a collection of distinct poems feels a bit weird. I’m not a poetry buff, so I can’t really say a lot about the collection from a technical standpoint, but I did like quite a few of the poems. There were some that the formatting didn’ Book TW: transphobia, homophobia, sexual assault; death; suicidality Note: I received this eARC from NetGalley in order to provide an honest review. As you’ll notice, I didn’t give this book a star rating, the reason for that is just that giving a numerical value to a collection of distinct poems feels a bit weird. I’m not a poetry buff, so I can’t really say a lot about the collection from a technical standpoint, but I did like quite a few of the poems. There were some that the formatting didn’t work for me, but I feel like it’s normal to only have some poems connect with you out of a collection. What I /did/ love was the solid connection to theatre woven throughout the collection. It helped to give a lot of context to the poet’s emotions and experiences that I may otherwise have had trouble connecting with. As far as specific poems I enjoyed, the following were definitely my favs: Stage Makeup Syllabus; Secondary Character; A Short Play; and then the whole series of “The Academy” poems. Overall, the collection is very short and can easily be read in a sitting (though I read it in bits and pieces). It has a lot to say about gender identity, theatre, and emotions. The poet had layed their life out on the page and even if I don’t connect with every single poem, that’s something that I can appreciate.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Léna

    please come off-book is an intensely private poetry collection, sometimes to the point of discomfort. kevin kantor explores topics such as grief, gender identity, sexual violence, dysfunctional family dynamics, queerness, loneliness, theatre and more broadly art and how they all converge in the rich tapestry of their life and craft. Somewhat experimental with form, it not only embellishes but also complements the meaning. I especially liked the use of footnotes in i am working a nine-month contr please come off-book is an intensely private poetry collection, sometimes to the point of discomfort. kevin kantor explores topics such as grief, gender identity, sexual violence, dysfunctional family dynamics, queerness, loneliness, theatre and more broadly art and how they all converge in the rich tapestry of their life and craft. Somewhat experimental with form, it not only embellishes but also complements the meaning. I especially liked the use of footnotes in i am working a nine-month contract... which reminded me of ocean vuong's seventh circle of earth although I am not familiar with theatre and acting, i liked how it played with tropes and classics, and would highly recommend it for anyone who loves a poetic texts that retells them, subverts expectations and uncovers their queer subtext. i found the collection was steeped in a kind of americana that i always find endearing, like in once upon a time in iowa which had something of clementine von radics (who blurbed this!!) courtney love prays to oregon it's a very self aware, playful and earnest collection, that slips in tenderness despite the violence of some of the lived experiences that are playing out in the text. I received an eARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  29. 5 out of 5

    cath

    Historically I have never been a fan of poems. Residual fear probably caused by the study of poems throughout my high school life. But Please Come Off-Book by Kevin Kantor is a collection of poems that will damn sure please even the most poem-hating person. Kantor writes with such comfort and lyrical writing, which left me feeling absolutely emotional after reading. The interconnectedness of theatre cues, scripts etc. is innovative and serves a greater purpose than itself. “I am sure that a Historically I have never been a fan of poems. Residual fear probably caused by the study of poems throughout my high school life. But Please Come Off-Book by Kevin Kantor is a collection of poems that will damn sure please even the most poem-hating person. Kantor writes with such comfort and lyrical writing, which left me feeling absolutely emotional after reading. The interconnectedness of theatre cues, scripts etc. is innovative and serves a greater purpose than itself. “I am sure that a man and woman is not all a body can be.” I can’t express how much this quote means to me. It felt like an old friend comforting you, and that being non-binary is absolutely valid. In the face of these trying times, Kandor has managed to deliver something that will clearly outshine in the face of it. thanks to netgalley for sending me an arc for an honest review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Misse Jones

    Please Come Off Book by Kevin Kantor is a testament to truth and voice in lyrical form. What I really enjoyed most was the very incredibly personal collection that was rendered in creating and selecting this particular set and gifting them to the world. They’re style is breathtaking and brutal and bleeds from the pages. My favorite selections were: ”People You May Know,” “I Am Sure,” “A Poem I Wrote After My Ex Wrote A Song About Me,” and “The Director Gives Me Notes After Our First Run Through. Please Come Off Book by Kevin Kantor is a testament to truth and voice in lyrical form. What I really enjoyed most was the very incredibly personal collection that was rendered in creating and selecting this particular set and gifting them to the world. They’re style is breathtaking and brutal and bleeds from the pages. My favorite selections were: ”People You May Know,” “I Am Sure,” “A Poem I Wrote After My Ex Wrote A Song About Me,” and “The Director Gives Me Notes After Our First Run Through.” It is a modern poetry collection that brings forth concepts of love, queerness, identity, loss, the arts, and so much more. They did a wonderful job weaving a tale with all of these elements. Definitely worth the read! Thank you to NetGalley and the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) for graciously gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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