The Only Worlds We Know (Button Poetry)

The Only Worlds We Know is a nuanced and tactile look at both sobriety, and what comes after. Patient meditations on loss and the land where the people we love live and are also buried.

Praise for The Only Worlds We Know:

"Memory is shaped with a resolve that is without resolution in these moving marvelous poems. They beautifully track what happens when unspeakable grief refuses to be silent" - Terrance Hayes
“Michael Lee has found newly slanted and richly tinged ways to write about some of the crucial subjects—love and love lost, recovery and addiction, the bullet and the pill.  His clean lines and nothing-to-hide voice will startle and edify his lucky readers." - Billy Collins

"These words will carry you. This is a striking debut collection—a voice that feels urgent, honest, and earned." - Matthew Olzmann



Magical Negro (TinHouse Press)

Magical Negro is an archive of black everydayness, a catalog of contemporary folk heroes, an ethnography of ancestral grief, and an inventory of figureheads, idioms, and customs. These American poems are both elegy and jive, joke and declaration, songs of congregation and self-conception. They connect themes of loneliness, displacement, grief, ancestral trauma, and objectification, while exploring and troubling tropes and stereotypes of Black Americans. Focused primarily on depictions of black womanhood alongside personal narratives, the collection tackles interior and exterior politics―of both the body and society, of both the individual and the collective experience. In Magical Negro, Parker creates a space of witness, of airing grievances, of pointing out patterns. In these poems are living documents, pleas, latent traumas, inside jokes, and unspoken anxieties situated as firmly in the past as in the present―timeless black melancholies and triumphs.

“If you’re anxious for your snug perspective to be rattled and ripped asunder, for the predictable landscape you stroll to become all but unrecognizable, for things you thought you knew to slap you into another consciousness―brethren, have I got the book for you. Bey’s bestie continues her reign with this restless, fierce, and insanely inventive way of walking through the world. Once again, children―ignore Ms. Parker at your peril.” ―Patricia Smith


Michael Lee is a Norwegian-American writer, youth worker, and organizer. He has received grants and scholarships from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the LOFT Literary Center, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Winner of the Scotti Merrill Award for poetry from the Key West Literary Seminar, his poetry has appeared in Ninth Letter, Poetry Northwest, Copper Nickel, and Best New Poets 2018 among others. Michael has worked as a dishwasher, a farmhand, a teaching artist, a social studies teacher, and a case manager for youth experiencing homelessness. Author of The Only Worlds We Know (Button poetry), he works, lives, writes, organizes, and dreams in North Minneapolis.


Morgan Parker is a poet, essayist, and novelist. She is the author of the poetry collections Magical Negro (Tin House 2019), There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé (Tin House 2017), and Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night (Switchback Books 2015). Her debut young adult novel Who Put This Song On? will be released by Delacorte Press on September 24, 2019. A debut book of nonfiction is forthcoming from One World. Parker is the recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, winner of a Pushcart Prize, and has been hailed by The New York Times as “a dynamic craftsperson” of “considerable consequence to American poetry.

Event date: 
Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
The Only Worlds We Know Cover Image
ISBN: 9781943735600
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Button Poetry - August 13th, 2019

Who Put This Song On? Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525707516
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Press - September 24th, 2019

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce Cover Image
ISBN: 9781941040539
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - February 14th, 2017

Magical Negro Cover Image
ISBN: 9781947793187
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - February 5th, 2019