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The Fat Feminist Poetry Book You'll Never Forget
By Ghia Vitale
Nothing Is Okay by Rachel Wiley might be the most electrifying feminist poetry book I’ve ever read. Rachel Wiley is a fat activist/body positive activist, performer, and poet from Columbus, Ohio. This poetry reflects on her thoughts and experiences related to being biracial, fat, and queer. I was happy to find that reading her poetry is as exhilarating as I imagine her spoken word performances are.
You may have seen Rachel Wiley’s spoken word performances before. Her performances have gone viral on the internet. Her confident, powerful voice moved me from the moment I first saw a performance of hers in a YouTube video. Watching her performances invigorated me so much, I showed them to other people, including thin people I know. Every single person I’ve videos of her performances to has been amazed, some even to the point of speechlessness.
When I showed a video of one of Wiley’s performances to a thin friend, he said, “That was so amazing, I don’t think I can handle anymore entertainment tonight. Nothing will come close to comparing to what I just saw.”
Here’s a performance of a poem called “Mixed Girl”:
As a fat woman, Wiley’s poetry spoke to me and made me feel understood. In Nothing Is Okay, she writes about her existence as a fat woman. This is the kind of book I wish I had read earlier. I would’ve loved to have read such empowering, confident takes on being a fat woman when I was younger. Alas, this book was published in March of 2018. Wiley’s reflections on fatphobia, fat fetishization, and what she’s experienced as a fat woman is worth a value beyond measure.
Nothing Is Okay also includes poetry about being biracial and queer. I can relate to her queerness because I am queer myself. I’ve never read poetry about what it’s like to be fat and queer. Reading her reflections on being biracial was especially interesting. I think her viewpoints as a fat, queer, biracial woman are deep and insightful.
I also like how the book features poetry about love, relationships, and dating. Some of her insights are sharp and cutting while others are humorous. I relate to a lot of her experiences on OkCupid. I love the rejection letters she writes to uncool guys who message her on OkCupid. I know from experience that dating (online and IRL) isn’t easy for fat women. Reading Wiley’s poetry made me feel better about all the bullshit I’ve experienced as a fat femme in the dating world.
I loved her poem “Belly Kisses” because it’s a positive portrayal of a fat woman being intimate with another woman:
(Personally, I love having my belly worshiped.)
I am forever grateful to Rachel Wiley for writing the poetry in Nothing Is Okay. Great writers like her inspire me to write. Wiley is loud and proud both on paper and in person. Her poetry is rich in insight and empowerment. I highly recommend this poetry for anyone who’s looking for poetry with truly intersectional feminism.
Buy Nothing Is Okay on Amazon. It’s worth every cent.
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