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Unraveling

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Season 15 winner of America's Got Talent, Brandon Leake, presents his debut poetry collection.  Brandon is the first spoken word poet to compete on AGT and to receive the Golden Buzzer award in the first round, going on to win the entire competition! From famous spoken word poet, artistic educator, and founder/CEO of “Called to Move” Brandon Leake comes his debut poetry col Season 15 winner of America's Got Talent, Brandon Leake, presents his debut poetry collection.  Brandon is the first spoken word poet to compete on AGT and to receive the Golden Buzzer award in the first round, going on to win the entire competition! From famous spoken word poet, artistic educator, and founder/CEO of “Called to Move” Brandon Leake comes his debut poetry collection Unraveling. In an era of self love, the ability to love oneself is only as effective as the ability to know oneself. Throughout his collection, Leake asks readers to look at something beautiful, yet still see its flaws. On the flip side, he encourages readers to look at something evil, and yet still see the beauty it holds. Universally relatable, surprisingly educational, and all around powerful, Unraveling is a collection of poetry inspiring us to slow down, breathe, and read between the lines.


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Season 15 winner of America's Got Talent, Brandon Leake, presents his debut poetry collection.  Brandon is the first spoken word poet to compete on AGT and to receive the Golden Buzzer award in the first round, going on to win the entire competition! From famous spoken word poet, artistic educator, and founder/CEO of “Called to Move” Brandon Leake comes his debut poetry col Season 15 winner of America's Got Talent, Brandon Leake, presents his debut poetry collection.  Brandon is the first spoken word poet to compete on AGT and to receive the Golden Buzzer award in the first round, going on to win the entire competition! From famous spoken word poet, artistic educator, and founder/CEO of “Called to Move” Brandon Leake comes his debut poetry collection Unraveling. In an era of self love, the ability to love oneself is only as effective as the ability to know oneself. Throughout his collection, Leake asks readers to look at something beautiful, yet still see its flaws. On the flip side, he encourages readers to look at something evil, and yet still see the beauty it holds. Universally relatable, surprisingly educational, and all around powerful, Unraveling is a collection of poetry inspiring us to slow down, breathe, and read between the lines.

30 review for Unraveling

  1. 5 out of 5

    Laur

    Brandon Leake, author of "Unraveling: Poems", no doubt is gifted in turning his deep, heartfelt, expressive thoughts, into poignant vocabulary dripping with emotion, and this is most especially noticed and appreciated as he narrates his own poems in the audiobook. In Unraveling: Poems, his poetry themes include religion, Christ, being black, prejudice, love of family, friends (or rather lack of true friends), injustice. Leake's poetry is dramatic and intense, yet delivered with smooth elegance. Ma Brandon Leake, author of "Unraveling: Poems", no doubt is gifted in turning his deep, heartfelt, expressive thoughts, into poignant vocabulary dripping with emotion, and this is most especially noticed and appreciated as he narrates his own poems in the audiobook. In Unraveling: Poems, his poetry themes include religion, Christ, being black, prejudice, love of family, friends (or rather lack of true friends), injustice. Leake's poetry is dramatic and intense, yet delivered with smooth elegance. Many of the very last lines of a poem, deliver a "wow moment". Truly, Leake is gifted with word expression, and although I found many of his poems beautiful, full of deep heart-felt spontaneous sentiment, the message(s) of the poet, will speaks (or not) to each individual's heart. I thought it was amazing and unapparelled to anything I have ever seen expressed before in poetry. 5 Stars My thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and Brandon Leake for an advanced audio copy of this poetry in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    This kind of poetry is so personal it's hard to know quite how to rate it, but I found much of the collection to be powerful, beautiful, and important. Leake explores what it means to be a Black man in America, his faith as a Christian, and concerns about the effects of fame. The collection tackles injustice, prejudice, fatherhood, romantic relationships, fear of violence, being fetishized and more. Note that there are quite a number of pieces that are overtly religious in theme and content, whi This kind of poetry is so personal it's hard to know quite how to rate it, but I found much of the collection to be powerful, beautiful, and important. Leake explores what it means to be a Black man in America, his faith as a Christian, and concerns about the effects of fame. The collection tackles injustice, prejudice, fatherhood, romantic relationships, fear of violence, being fetishized and more. Note that there are quite a number of pieces that are overtly religious in theme and content, which may not be to everyone's taste. I did like the pieces that grappled with the disconnect between who Jesus was and the state of the white American church today. Overall, a strong collection that will speak to a range of people. The audio narration is done by the author, which is always a cool way to hear poetry. I received an audio review copy of this book from Libro.FM, all opinions are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rachel & Lindsey

    (this review was also posted on my personal account) (an audio copy of this book was given to me by Netgalley for review!) i really enjoyed this book! it dealt with very serious themes, and got dark at times, but the way that Brandon Leake used words to convey the strongest of his emotions was so powerful. i am not usually someone who likes to listen to poetry books, but i would definitely recommend this book to the general public i think my favorite poem out of every one that i listened to was Kob (this review was also posted on my personal account) (an audio copy of this book was given to me by Netgalley for review!) i really enjoyed this book! it dealt with very serious themes, and got dark at times, but the way that Brandon Leake used words to convey the strongest of his emotions was so powerful. i am not usually someone who likes to listen to poetry books, but i would definitely recommend this book to the general public i think my favorite poem out of every one that i listened to was Kobe. it was a reflection on a hero of the media, as well as fatherhood, while still maintaining respect for the victim and his family. because of the nature of it being an audiobook, it felt more like you were sitting and having a conversation with the author. the flow of Brandon Leake's voice made his words all the more poignant and powerful.. there was a sense of musicality to his poems that is sometimes hard to find in an audiobook. this is what really drew me in and kept me listening. i could imagine the author taking any of these and performing them as slam poetry on a stage one day. anyways,' enjoy! - lindsey

  4. 4 out of 5

    ReadingTilTheBreakOfDawn

    How does one even rate poetry? Brandon Leake put his heart and soul in this compilation of poems. From places and people close to his heart, to societal issues, to racial injustices, to everyday life, these poems are an emotional punch to the gut. Even the shortest and simplest poem will make you feel. And that audio? Mr Leake read his own poems and did it with perfection. His inflection and feelings were very evident. You could feel his emotions come out in his words. It is no wonder that his s How does one even rate poetry? Brandon Leake put his heart and soul in this compilation of poems. From places and people close to his heart, to societal issues, to racial injustices, to everyday life, these poems are an emotional punch to the gut. Even the shortest and simplest poem will make you feel. And that audio? Mr Leake read his own poems and did it with perfection. His inflection and feelings were very evident. You could feel his emotions come out in his words. It is no wonder that his spoken word won on a talent show.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    Brandon Leake is “the voice of the people” in this very contemporary and timely collection. He addresses issues of race and politics in addition to issues close to his heart such as marriage, parenting and faith. This collection of his poetry expresses feelings and thoughts that everyone can relate to, regardless of race, gender or religion. Some poems spoke to me more than others so I think relating to the words and phrases will be a very individual and personal experience for each reader. I th Brandon Leake is “the voice of the people” in this very contemporary and timely collection. He addresses issues of race and politics in addition to issues close to his heart such as marriage, parenting and faith. This collection of his poetry expresses feelings and thoughts that everyone can relate to, regardless of race, gender or religion. Some poems spoke to me more than others so I think relating to the words and phrases will be a very individual and personal experience for each reader. I think seeing him on AGT also helped bring the works “alive” for me as I could picture how expressive he is when reciting his poetry. Thanks to NetGalley and Andrew McMeel Publishing for the Advanced Reader Copy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    i was given a free audio copy of this book by Netgalley in exchange for review. i really enjoyed this book! it dealt with very serious themes, and got dark at times, but the way that Brandon Leake used words to convey the strongest of his emotions was so powerful. i am not usually someone who likes to listen to poetry books, but i would definitely recommend this book to the general public i think my favorite poem out of every one that i listened to was Kobe. it was a reflection on a hero of the med i was given a free audio copy of this book by Netgalley in exchange for review. i really enjoyed this book! it dealt with very serious themes, and got dark at times, but the way that Brandon Leake used words to convey the strongest of his emotions was so powerful. i am not usually someone who likes to listen to poetry books, but i would definitely recommend this book to the general public i think my favorite poem out of every one that i listened to was Kobe. it was a reflection on a hero of the media, as well as fatherhood, while still maintaining respect for the victim and his family. because of the nature of it being an audiobook, it felt more like you were sitting and having a conversation with the author. the flow of Brandon Leake's voice made his words all the more poignant and powerful.. there was a sense of musicality to his poems that is sometimes hard to find in an audiobook. this is what really drew me in and kept me listening. i could imagine the author taking any of these and performing them as slam poetry on a stage one day. anyways, enjoy!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eram Hussain

    Unraveling is a collection of poems about depression, religion, fake friendship, family and being black in America. The words were very powerful and moving. Although I did not love every poem in this collection but I really enjoyed the majority of them.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A collection of poems. A collection of thoughts. A collection of experiences. The collective experience. Living and Loving. On being black. On being black in America. On being black and living and dying at the hands of American Injustice system. Unraveling.

  9. 5 out of 5

    ms.reads.alot

    I’m far from an expert on poetry, I have no idea what makes it ‘good’ or ‘bad’, I just know whether I enjoyed it or not. Unraveled is a poetry collection that I can definitely say I enjoyed, it was moving, powerful and also beautiful. I didn’t love every poem in this collection but I really enjoyed the majority of them. Covering everything from depression to religion and being black in America, this was a fantastic poetry collection that I can’t wait to hear the audio version of and will definit I’m far from an expert on poetry, I have no idea what makes it ‘good’ or ‘bad’, I just know whether I enjoyed it or not. Unraveled is a poetry collection that I can definitely say I enjoyed, it was moving, powerful and also beautiful. I didn’t love every poem in this collection but I really enjoyed the majority of them. Covering everything from depression to religion and being black in America, this was a fantastic poetry collection that I can’t wait to hear the audio version of and will definitely be purchasing and rereading a physical copy of as soon as it’s available! Update: I’ve now listened to the audio and it was just as fantastic as expected! Highly recommend!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Poetry is not my normal go to. I felt compelled to listen to this audio, narrated by the author. As I listened, I often was stopped in my tracks, moved to tears or laughter or poignant reflection. I do not watch much television and had not heard of Brandon's rise and subsequent win on AGT, so this was my first taste of his particular spoken word. I am glad to have listened to the audio and had his voice and inflections in his delivery of his art. This was really beautiful. His poems touched on ma Poetry is not my normal go to. I felt compelled to listen to this audio, narrated by the author. As I listened, I often was stopped in my tracks, moved to tears or laughter or poignant reflection. I do not watch much television and had not heard of Brandon's rise and subsequent win on AGT, so this was my first taste of his particular spoken word. I am glad to have listened to the audio and had his voice and inflections in his delivery of his art. This was really beautiful. His poems touched on many current topics regarding race and his assessments, there are poems that encompass humanity, spiritual struggles, and life's changes. I really enjoyed hearing his views and feelings as he has a perspective very different from my own. I was going to list my favorite poem titles, but there are too many. A top few are: "A Letter to My Younger Self", "Breonna", "Married People's Poems", "To My Son", & "Black Boy Joy." I can't wait until this comes out on March 8th when I can read along with his voice. I would highly encourage this to be both audio and physical. I am so thankful to NetGalley and Andrew McNeely Audio, but especially to Brandon Leake for the advance listening copy. I loved it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This was great!! I read this via the audiobook version and as soon as it is released I will be purchasing the paperback to annotate as well! The poems throughout this book talk about so many different things, but all of them are powerful and important. There were quite a few that really touched me, however I feel like the ones that are most noteworthy will be different for everyone as it will be the ones that speak to you personally along with the ones talking about such important issues in toda This was great!! I read this via the audiobook version and as soon as it is released I will be purchasing the paperback to annotate as well! The poems throughout this book talk about so many different things, but all of them are powerful and important. There were quite a few that really touched me, however I feel like the ones that are most noteworthy will be different for everyone as it will be the ones that speak to you personally along with the ones talking about such important issues in today's society. Overall this was a great collection and I would 100% recommend it to everyone and anyone, the audiobook was also great and I would recommend this as well, I really appreciated that it was narrated by the author so it truly felt like you were consuming the poems how they were always intended to be. Thanks to @netgalley , the publishers @ andrewsmcmeel and the author @brandon_leake_ctm for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    I have listened to Unraveling several times now and each time I hear something new...something moving, something sacred, something that causes me to stop and think. I had no clue who Brandon Leake is (He won America's Got Talent) but his poetry is moving. Perhaps even more so because Brandon reads his poetry. My favorite of Unraveling... Breonna. It is such a beautiful tribute. If you are looking for a fresh new voice in poetry, I think you will enjoy this collection of poems... very much. I wan I have listened to Unraveling several times now and each time I hear something new...something moving, something sacred, something that causes me to stop and think. I had no clue who Brandon Leake is (He won America's Got Talent) but his poetry is moving. Perhaps even more so because Brandon reads his poetry. My favorite of Unraveling... Breonna. It is such a beautiful tribute. If you are looking for a fresh new voice in poetry, I think you will enjoy this collection of poems... very much. I want to thank NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Audio for this ARC of Unraveling.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Abena Maryann

    Season 15 winner of America’s Got Talent present his debut poetry collection. The spoken word poet delves into themes such as self-love, what is means to be a black man in America, internalized injustice, police brutality, parenting, relationships, and friendships. The poems are real, emotional, stunning, and powerful. The audiobook narration is done by the author which makes you feel every emotion down to the bone.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Coffee&Books

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Wow. That's what I have to say about this collection of poetry ranging from serious (Breonna Taylor) to funny and tongue in cheek (Fake friends). Two of my new routines for the year are to read more poetry, so I begin each week with a selection and to read more male authors. Hit two in one with this impressive collection and I LOVE it was in audio. The author isn't a pro narrator, but I think I like to hear poetry in the voice that wrote it. Wow. That's what I have to say about this collection of poetry ranging from serious (Breonna Taylor) to funny and tongue in cheek (Fake friends). Two of my new routines for the year are to read more poetry, so I begin each week with a selection and to read more male authors. Hit two in one with this impressive collection and I LOVE it was in audio. The author isn't a pro narrator, but I think I like to hear poetry in the voice that wrote it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lyndsey Thomas

    If you are in the mood for some deep thoughts, moving words, and poetic narrative, this is just what you need. Brandon talks about issues such as race, politics, family, and faith in a emotional and expressive way. I listened to the audio version of this book, which allowed me to hear Brandon recite his words in there exact way he intended. It was very enjoyable. Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced audio copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Domokur

    I really felt the emotions that were put into these poems. I really enjoyed everyone of them. I loved the audio and how authentic felt with his inflections.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kayla - the.bookish.mama

    This was such a deeply personal collection, and listening to it was a unique experience. This almost felt like a memoir in verse. Each word was intentional, and helped to capture the emotion that Leake was creating, or even recalling. So many topics were covered, but I appreciated that the poems felt to come from experience rather than just writing about a topic for the sake of doing so. The experience that it created felt genuine. And Leake is so talented with spoken word! I really enjoyed this This was such a deeply personal collection, and listening to it was a unique experience. This almost felt like a memoir in verse. Each word was intentional, and helped to capture the emotion that Leake was creating, or even recalling. So many topics were covered, but I appreciated that the poems felt to come from experience rather than just writing about a topic for the sake of doing so. The experience that it created felt genuine. And Leake is so talented with spoken word! I really enjoyed this one!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    I want to thank NetGalley for a copy of this book, all opinions are my own. Amazing read! I knew going in I would more than likely love it because I enjoyed watching Brandon on America's Got Talent. I loved all of the poetry. So much passion and I felt a full range of emotions as I read the poems. Definitely buying a copy to add to my poetry library. I want to thank NetGalley for a copy of this book, all opinions are my own. Amazing read! I knew going in I would more than likely love it because I enjoyed watching Brandon on America's Got Talent. I loved all of the poetry. So much passion and I felt a full range of emotions as I read the poems. Definitely buying a copy to add to my poetry library.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lanette Sweeney

    Brandon Leake got the kind of boost any poet would dream of, a golden ticket on America's Got Talent, which led him all the way to winning season 15 of the show, the first time a spoken-word artist has ever taken home that prize. He is a magnetic, compelling performer, and he performs the poems on his audiobook, as well, which makes for a captivating experience. His words are direct and impassioned as he speaks of "tattooing words across his wounds." Many of his lines strike such a rich poetic c Brandon Leake got the kind of boost any poet would dream of, a golden ticket on America's Got Talent, which led him all the way to winning season 15 of the show, the first time a spoken-word artist has ever taken home that prize. He is a magnetic, compelling performer, and he performs the poems on his audiobook, as well, which makes for a captivating experience. His words are direct and impassioned as he speaks of "tattooing words across his wounds." Many of his lines strike such a rich poetic chord that I felt compelled to rewind and listen to them again. And some of his poems, about grief, loss, racism, his love of God, his longing to stay in the present, and what it feels like to be Black in America, pack a punch that stays with the reader long after listening. I especially liked the comparisons (e.g. between Jesus and Philando Castille) in "Black Jesus," and the repetition and rhyme in "I Remember." Individual poems were deeply touching. I enjoyed the humor of "A Letter to My Younger Self" and how it softens us for the turn when the poem becomes more serious. The fast rhymes and rapping of "Loaded Bases," an homage to Nipsy Russell, and of "Lusting Over Loss" are also excellent. In his poem about Flint, Michigan, he demands we pay attention to how we are poisoning children: "These aren't corroding pipelines, these are eroding lifelines." Overall, though, this book felt more like a direct address to the reader than a poetry collection, and I longed for more lyrical language, metaphor, and surprise than Leake's dramatic performances of his poems could deliver. In his poem about alcohol, for example, "Bottomless" he says, "So let us drink, let us drink our sorrows down with the numbing chill of icy disregard for the burning aftertaste of regret, knowing tomorrow we must return to reality, return to the unemployment line..." in another, "Strange Familiarity," he addresses a love interest by saying, "I don't know what draws me to you. Maybe it's your infectious smile or the way your hair sways in the wind. Or maybe it's the way you laugh at my corny jokes." Lines like these are just too narrative and on the nose to move me like more poetic language can. Still, as Brandon told Simon Cowell during his first performance on AGT when Simon admitted he didn't like poetry, "I'm a great introduction for you!" And so he was-- and is. Thanks to Andrew McMeels Publishing and Netgalley for providing me with the audiobook of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Autumn (Chapter Malliumpkin)

    ALC provided by Libro.fm and Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review Content/Trigger Warnings: Themes/Mentions of racism, alcoholism, gun violence, violence, death, anxiety, Acrophobia (fear of heights) Wow, what a powerful poetry collection. I have sat with this poetry collection for a few days now, sitting with my feelings on this book and my feelings. Let me tell you, how does one even begin to rate a poetry collection. All I know is that with this collection, Leake revea ALC provided by Libro.fm and Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review Content/Trigger Warnings: Themes/Mentions of racism, alcoholism, gun violence, violence, death, anxiety, Acrophobia (fear of heights) Wow, what a powerful poetry collection. I have sat with this poetry collection for a few days now, sitting with my feelings on this book and my feelings. Let me tell you, how does one even begin to rate a poetry collection. All I know is that with this collection, Leake reveals some of the rawest parts of himself and some of them will stay days after reading this book. Brandon Leake’s Unraveling is a poetry collection that explores what it means to be a Black man living in America, his faith as a Christian and his relationship with God, and even takes a look at his fears and concerns surrounding fame (a topic which isn’t usually discussed often). Within these pages, Brandon shows the rawest pieces of himself, expressing his love and passions, but also showing us his fears and worries. Bringing some very important topics up and addressing them. The only thing I will say impacted my reading was the constant religious themes and passages. I’ve said it a few times in other reviews, but I’m not a very religious person. I, personally, have a lot of conflicting feelings and experiences with religion, and so I don’t typically read anything that has a lot of religious themes. This is something to be aware of especially if you’re someone like me who also has very conflicting feelings/experiences. Overall, this was a really powerful read and I think if you’re looking powerful poetry collections or really good audiobooks narrated by the author (hint, hint, wink, wink) then you should definitely consider picking this book up. It’s been about two-three days since I finished this and I’m still thinking about a lot of the themes within this book and some of my favorite pieces like Trails, Sandcastles, Safe Haven, and a few others. I definitely recommend giving this book a chance! Blog|Instagram|YouTube|Ko-fi

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Publication date: March 8, 2022 My Thoughts: I am not a good critic for poetry, as the poems that I like are ones that I have a visceral reaction to, but that reaction comes from different things. It just depends. In other words, I like who I like, but I cannot explain why I trust their poetic voice. What grabs me, though, is when I hear poets read their own pieces. I feel like poets reading their own pieces is part of the visceral package. With that in mind, I picked up this book because Brandon Publication date: March 8, 2022 My Thoughts: I am not a good critic for poetry, as the poems that I like are ones that I have a visceral reaction to, but that reaction comes from different things. It just depends. In other words, I like who I like, but I cannot explain why I trust their poetic voice. What grabs me, though, is when I hear poets read their own pieces. I feel like poets reading their own pieces is part of the visceral package. With that in mind, I picked up this book because Brandon Leake is the Season 15 winner of America's Got Talent. I know this because the publishers put that down on the cover. I have never seen a whole season of America's Got Talent, but I have seen enough clips to know that a spoken word poet is not the typical act that gets the judges excited, so I needed to request this book. His poetry is fine, but it sits on the page like the plastic food outside of the Japanese restaurants. It looks real enough, meaning from all outward appearances, they are recognizable as poems. However, I am missing his voice in my head. I don't know how he would read it, and since I am reading this pre-publication, Amazon does not allow me to listen to a snippet. I am guessing, especially since he is a AGT winner, that it is in the delivery, the way he enunciates the words, inserts breath and life into lines, perhaps moves his hands like Amanda Gorman does as if punctuating and pushing essence into the poems, that this is where the corpse of words turns into living material. From "Living" - I'm not searching for a new beginning/I'm somewhere in the middle/Not quite hopelessly searching/Yet not quite woefully unearthing/All of these dead parts of me (p.8) I guess, without having ever heard him read his own work, I too am somewhere in the middle. . .

  22. 5 out of 5

    Porshea DiMera

    I’ve become a major proponent of audiobooks in the past year, and this month has launched my interest in reading poetry via the format. Access to this book of poetry has come courtesy of Libro.fm who shared early access to Unraveling in exchange for a review. Unraveling tells the tale of a Black man letting loose his concerns with the world, the U.S. in particular, by leaning on his faith in a higher power and letting the words that describe his observations flow through him. While much of the b I’ve become a major proponent of audiobooks in the past year, and this month has launched my interest in reading poetry via the format. Access to this book of poetry has come courtesy of Libro.fm who shared early access to Unraveling in exchange for a review. Unraveling tells the tale of a Black man letting loose his concerns with the world, the U.S. in particular, by leaning on his faith in a higher power and letting the words that describe his observations flow through him. While much of the book includes pieces that have familiar rhyming and lyrically schemes to what you find in many poetry and hip hop performances, there are standout passages whose poignancy lingers long after you’ve moved onto the next poem. “Kobe” for instance, shines a light on what many of us must have concluded about the star’s final moments while also wrestling with the sense of grief that the author, Brandon Leake, felt vicariously. In “Unsure” the poet draws on evocative and illustrative language to display insecurity and imposter syndrome at its worst, a la passages such as Sometimes I mistake my own reflection as a shadow. The only worthy parts of myself are those they accept. Find full review here: https://blackgirlscreate.org/2022/03/...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nicki White

    I didn’t know who Brandon Leake was until Google. I had to Google it because I’m the synopsis it’s says “Brandon Leeks AGT season 15 winner” so to Google I went and I watched a few videos from his seasons. His words are mesmerizing. So I chose to read his book in audio format. When the book started I felt it was a bit scattered. It was sad, then happy, then love. But towards the end I just became angry. I definitely don’t know what it feels like to be a black male in today’s society. His words ag I didn’t know who Brandon Leake was until Google. I had to Google it because I’m the synopsis it’s says “Brandon Leeks AGT season 15 winner” so to Google I went and I watched a few videos from his seasons. His words are mesmerizing. So I chose to read his book in audio format. When the book started I felt it was a bit scattered. It was sad, then happy, then love. But towards the end I just became angry. I definitely don’t know what it feels like to be a black male in today’s society. His words against the crimes against the black community made me so upset and furious. Why? Because it’s all true. And I couldn’t imagine having to live life like that. One thing the stood out to me was Leeks ability to put todays new into word. The audiobook was a great choice because you can hear the conviction in his voice, the pain, anguish, hope and love. It radiate through the speakers and hits you at your core. It’s a powerful book. It will make you feel in ways you don’t expect to feel. I don’t know if I would have got the same results reading the book but the audiobook was invigorating. Book 9 of 2022 Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  24. 5 out of 5

    Britta Todd

    Wow, wow, wow. Unraveling is some of the most moving poetry I've read (listened to) in a while. My mind is still ruminating on "Vice Versa" and its line about comparison vs. comparing sin. The changing dynamics of schools in "The Secret Life of Teachers" made my heart ache. And "Mutuality" spoke deeply to my tension with many so-called Christian leaders right now. I've never watched America's Got Talent, so I went into this book unaware of Brandon Leake's accolades or criticisms, but I'm now a h Wow, wow, wow. Unraveling is some of the most moving poetry I've read (listened to) in a while. My mind is still ruminating on "Vice Versa" and its line about comparison vs. comparing sin. The changing dynamics of schools in "The Secret Life of Teachers" made my heart ache. And "Mutuality" spoke deeply to my tension with many so-called Christian leaders right now. I've never watched America's Got Talent, so I went into this book unaware of Brandon Leake's accolades or criticisms, but I'm now a huge fan of his. A few poems mentioned that God had given him this talent with words, and I couldn't say it better myself. Very well composed on a variety of topics. While I enjoyed hearing the emotion in Leake's voice in the audiobook - the pacing & emphasis were incredible - I also feel like I would enjoy the written, physical copy of the book even more than the audiobook, just so I could sit with the words & reflect on them in a way that's not possible with audio. Thank you to NetGalley and Andrew McMeel Publishing for an advance audio copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Brandon was my favorite AGT contestant from his very first appearance. I am so glad that he won, he really deserved it. Just listening to him speak, you feel something. This is his first post AGT collection of poems. I thought there were a number of beautiful poems here. They all make you think too. Serious issues are tackled in a way to make the reader think and feel. When I read a poem, I tend to hear a cadence in my head of how I’d expect the poem to be read. With Brandon’s writing, having hea Brandon was my favorite AGT contestant from his very first appearance. I am so glad that he won, he really deserved it. Just listening to him speak, you feel something. This is his first post AGT collection of poems. I thought there were a number of beautiful poems here. They all make you think too. Serious issues are tackled in a way to make the reader think and feel. When I read a poem, I tend to hear a cadence in my head of how I’d expect the poem to be read. With Brandon’s writing, having heard him do spoken word poetry, I can feel a different cadence than a poem might normally go. Because of that, I think this would be wonderful to have as an audio book too. I’m someone who rarely thinks of the audio book, that prefers the written word, but I feel like I want to hear Brandon speaking these words. He puts a different level of power and execution in what he’s saying than I can when I read it. I got to read an early ebook edition from NetGalley. I enjoyed the book of poems and would enjoy hearing these read by Brandon.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tayler

    This was my first time reading a poetry collection written by a man. I thought the subject matter was varied, ranging from relationships to race to religion. It was very interesting to get an inside look of such a multifaceted individual, such as the author Brandon Leake. I could sense a vulnerability shared in these poems. I think it is really important for Black men to share vulnerability like this; it normalizes talking about mental health and seeking support, even though in many of the poems This was my first time reading a poetry collection written by a man. I thought the subject matter was varied, ranging from relationships to race to religion. It was very interesting to get an inside look of such a multifaceted individual, such as the author Brandon Leake. I could sense a vulnerability shared in these poems. I think it is really important for Black men to share vulnerability like this; it normalizes talking about mental health and seeking support, even though in many of the poems Leake talks about suffering in silence and finding more “acceptable” ways to cope. I will say, I am not a religious person, but the way Leake talks about God didn’t seem off putting or as if he was proselytizing. It felt like an expression of gratitude for his faith and the very real struggle between feeling suffering and having faith. I really resonated with the poems about writing poetry. I fall for the trap Leake talks about of readers needing to see the blood on the page for them to see it as art. I do like beautiful sad things because suffering connects us all. However, that’s not the only thing, and art should be celebrated for the sake of art. It’s difficult feeling good enough for something that’s so subjective. Overall, I would recommend this collection. It might not be the type of poetry I personally like, but it is important to add nuance to the Black male experience.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Ryan

    Thank you NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Audio for a copy of Unraveling by Brandon Leake to review. I was very much intrigued when I read that Brandon Leake had won America's Got Talent as a spoken word poet who was now releasing his first book. After listening to the audiobook, I understand why he won. His words are powerful, emotional and riveting as he talks about love, loss and life as a black man in America. It would be easy to listen to the book in one sitting as it is less than 2 hours but Thank you NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Audio for a copy of Unraveling by Brandon Leake to review. I was very much intrigued when I read that Brandon Leake had won America's Got Talent as a spoken word poet who was now releasing his first book. After listening to the audiobook, I understand why he won. His words are powerful, emotional and riveting as he talks about love, loss and life as a black man in America. It would be easy to listen to the book in one sitting as it is less than 2 hours but that would be a disservice as there are so many poems that deserve reflection and more than one listen. This collection is also a great example of having the audiobook and physical book. Sometimes you want the physical copy to highlight or write notes. Other times, you want to listen and feel the energy of words. Either way, you will be moved by his poetry.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I was a huge fan of Leake's when he appeared on "America's Got Talent." I felt like he was so talented and did such an amazing job at making spoken word poetry accessible to millions of Americans. So, I was thrilled to see that he had a collection of his work coming out. There is a little bit of magic lost when you're not hearing Leake actually speak his poems, but his work touches on such important issues that his poems are powerful nonetheless. I would love for some of these poems to be taught I was a huge fan of Leake's when he appeared on "America's Got Talent." I felt like he was so talented and did such an amazing job at making spoken word poetry accessible to millions of Americans. So, I was thrilled to see that he had a collection of his work coming out. There is a little bit of magic lost when you're not hearing Leake actually speak his poems, but his work touches on such important issues that his poems are powerful nonetheless. I would love for some of these poems to be taught in schools. Their relevance to young men and women (no matter their race) is palpable. I can't wait to read (and hear) more of his poems in the future. *Free ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

  29. 4 out of 5

    Natalie (readswithnatalieb)

    There’s always something so beautiful about poetry. For me, it always means more hearing the story straight out of the author’s mouth. For UNRAVELING and the poems within, it’s no different. Poetry is mostly short, to the point, and filled with underlying messages between the lines. I couldn’t tell you how many poems are within since I wasn’t holding the physical book, but I got lost (in a good way) listing to Leake. His poems range from triumph to heartbreak and to being Black in America and rec There’s always something so beautiful about poetry. For me, it always means more hearing the story straight out of the author’s mouth. For UNRAVELING and the poems within, it’s no different. Poetry is mostly short, to the point, and filled with underlying messages between the lines. I couldn’t tell you how many poems are within since I wasn’t holding the physical book, but I got lost (in a good way) listing to Leake. His poems range from triumph to heartbreak and to being Black in America and recounting the loss of Kobe Bryant and GiGi. They were powerful. They were raw. They are incredible. Big thank you to Andrews McNeel Publishing, Libro FM and Netgalley for the ALC. You can get your copy March 8. Content warnings: Racism, death

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lady reading365

    This was an excellent collection of poetry, read by the author. I listened to the audiobook and loved his voice and the way he presented his work. He was strong with brilliant emotions and emphasised his words brilliantly. His work contains amazing power and very emotive words spoken with passion. Getting his points across magnificently. It was thoroughly enjoyable to listen to and it is so much better as an audiobook to the book. I was so engrossed in this audiobook. He included subjects such a This was an excellent collection of poetry, read by the author. I listened to the audiobook and loved his voice and the way he presented his work. He was strong with brilliant emotions and emphasised his words brilliantly. His work contains amazing power and very emotive words spoken with passion. Getting his points across magnificently. It was thoroughly enjoyable to listen to and it is so much better as an audiobook to the book. I was so engrossed in this audiobook. He included subjects such as race, politics and family so others can feel his personal experiences and thoughts. In a very modern poetic style. I would like to thank the author and publishers for putting together a brilliant collection of modern day poetry that emphasises current day issues. These open the readers eyes to current day issues. I look forward to reading more from this author.

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