Departing from a more familiar coming out narrative he centers the stories of dueling selves. Masquerading white boy. Child of an addict. Closeted varsity athlete. Drifting seamlessly between the scholarly and conversational, Falkner’s poems showcase a versatility of language and a courageous hunger, unafraid of depicting the costumes we use to hide legacies of toxic masculinity. Through snapshots both tragic and humorous, merciless and humane, Falkner offers powerful new ways of understanding the intersectional linkage that binds queer shame to cultural appropriation. At its core, The Willies asks us to consider who we will become if we do not grapple with what scares us most.
Advance praise for The Willies Adam Falkner has heard what hums at the marrow of men who deceive themselves in order to survive America. — SAEED JONES
This is truth that changes the air it reaches. This is poetry that, damn it, you can’t shake. — PATRICIA SMITH
In these urgent and sometimes mysterious poems, Falkner traces questions of identity, family, love and the self. His language is angular and surprising, his content intimate and profound. — ANDREW SOLOMON
I am thankful for the incisive mind and eye of Adam Falkner. In the poems, the work of balancing several selves at once is done gently, deftly, and with the brilliance of someone curious about how limitless they can become. — HANIF ABDURRAQIB