Content Warning: Everything

Akwaeke Emezi

In their bold debut poetry collection, Akwaeke Emezi—award-winning author of Freshwater, PET, The Death of Vivek Oji, and Dear Senthuran—imagines a new depth of belonging. Crafted of both divine and earthly materials, these poems travel from home to homesickness, tracing desire to surrender and abuse to survival, while mapping out a chosen family that includes the son of god, mary auntie, and magdalene with the chestnut eyes. Written from a spiritfirst perspective and celebrating the essence of self that is impossible to drown, kill, or reduce, Content Warning: Everything distills the radiant power and epic grief of a mischievous and wanting young deity, embodied.

ISBN: 9781556596292

Format: Paperback

july 28

will i remember moments like this, standing on grass, the sky yawning over me
swahili beating out of speakers, dancing with a crowd of strangers wondering
how love has done nothing more to my body other than deform
the left side of my chest
will i remember brooklyn, the shocking beauty of a lighted train
running above ground and against the sky, before night wraps around fulton
an old woman kissing the bus driver’s cheek
green tennis balls poured over the courts on malcolm x
a little black girl i do not know shouting adios amigo as she crosses the street
the smell of a roti shop, silk sliding on my arms
yellow kitchens, guavas and parathas
a white box fan whirring in our last summer

About the Author

Akwaeke Emezi (they/them) is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Death of Vivek Oji, which was a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Jean Stein Award; Pet, a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, a Walter Honor Book, and a Stonewall Honor Book; Freshwater, which was named a New York Times Notable Book and shortlisted for the PEN/Hemingway Award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Center for Fiction’s …

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Reviews

“A puzzle wrapped in beautiful language, raising questions of identity and loyalty that are as unanswerable as they are important.” —The New York Times Book Review

“To enter Emezi’s world, you not only need to decolonize your mind, but also free yourself from patriarchal and binary ways of viewing the world . . . Reading Emezi’s unfolding integration of fictional forms and modes of thinking—spiritual, analytical, historical, cultural, clinical—you feel like you are witnessing a talented and emotionally astute writer finding [their] voice(s).” —Guernica

“A work of elegant musicality and ingenuity [that draws] the reader into a world of memories, talismans, photographs, spirits, and intimacies.” —Zora

“In their poetry debut, Content Warning: Everything, eye-catching novelist Akwaeke Emezi envisions a self that can’t be bent or broken.” —Library Journal, The Books of 2022

“From searing inquisitions of the nature of guilt and sin to radical reimaginings of biblical figures, Emezi operates with the ease of a seasoned poet throughout this visionary book.” —BookPage

“Moments of incomparable characterization stand out, like the ‘velvet child upholstered in incoherent rage,’ often contrasting with the simple pleasures of Emezi’s Igbo culture:’the wet fibers from a ripe palm fruit / flat stones cracking the nut inside.’ Emezi’s lyrics radiate raw vulnerability in their exploration of themes of abuse, trauma, mental wellness, and sexuality.” — Booklist

“Emezi’s debut poetry collection focuses on themes of belonging and the self. Taking inspiration from the divine and the mundane, they write “from a spiritfirst perspective.” Swinging from home to homesickness, abuse to survival, grief to rage, and desire to surrender, the poems exemplify the stark power of Emezi’s writing.” Autostraddle

“In case you’re somehow, inexplicably unaware of Emezi, they are the dazzlingly prolific author of four books between 2018 and 2021, with three more coming out this year.” Shondaland

“Each poem is stunning, and often feels uproarious immediately upon its completion, demanding another read, another look, a step or two back or to the side, to second guess, question, and feel.” —North of Oxford

“Emezi’s worldbuilding is best expressed when senses collide, as when we observe how ‘mary / auntie sighs and a flock of sparrows crashes against my ear’ or experience the visceral sensation of a voice, as ‘ox bones thrown against the walls / heavy bamboo whistling on / tender calves.’” —Harriet Books, Poetry Foundation

“A triumph of selfhood that painstakingly journeys between belief and becoming. Holding tenderness and rage in one breath, the Nigerian-born nonbinary author excavates trauma, divorce and loss without restraint.” New York Times

“Spirit, source, sanctuary.” Ms. Magazine

“Content Warning: Everything deserves its name. Between the first and last pages, my mind became a thunderstorm of questions. What is time? What is being? What is life? What is death, to a god? Each poem presents an experience like lightning. Look: love. Here, pain. See where they connect. At the center of the thunderstorm is stillness. There, clarity is born. If you feel confused and a little unsteady then, congratulations, you’re ready to read Akwaeke Emezi.” —Autostraddle