[06/20/23] Fernandes, Megan: I Do Everything I'm Told
Tin House Books, LLC, paperback
Publication Date: June 20, 2023
Publisher Marketing: Bristling with restlessness and wit, Megan Fernandes' I Do Everything I'm Told explores disobedience and worship, false beloveds, possessiveness, and long nights of solitude. Its poems span thousands of miles, as a masterful crown of sonnets starts in Shanghai, then flies through Brooklyn, Lisbon, Palermo, Sacramento, Paris, Philadelphia, and finally, somewhere only language can reach, where the speaker waits for a revelation.
Across five sections, poems navigate through the terrain of loss: the loss of relationships, the loss of a promised future. But amid devastation, they push us to consider joy as a necessity--in the smallest interactions, Fernandes observes that which moves us forward. "I do not track the world by beauty but joy," a speaker says. "That first bite into the soft carrot of tagine stew while a / storm wailed over the East River. The misfit raccoon / bouncing on trash bins in Central Park." Formally and sonically adventurous, I Do Everything I'm Told is the book for a generation who seeks to cross the distances between one another and rediscover an intimacy nearly taken by despair.