"This is a brave collection."
". . . a stunning achievement."
". . . an example of poetry at its highest form."
"It takes my breath away."
". . . a necessary aggression . . . "
". . . a joy to witness."
". . . possesses the formal tools of a strong poet . . ."
". . . a triumphant debut collection."
Winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, selected by Terrance Hayes; the Levis Reading Prize; and the Julie Suk Award. Finalist for a Lambda Literary Award; a Thom Gunn Award; and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.
- Named one of "Top Ten Debut Poetry Books" of 2015 by Poets & Writers Magazine.
- Named one of "Top 16 Best Poetry Books" of 2015 by Buzzfeed.
- Named one of "24 Best Literary Debuts" of 2015 by Buzzfeed.
- Named one of the best poetry collections of 2015 by Literary Hub.
- Named a 2015 Staff Book Pick by The Poetry Foundation.
- Named a 2015 "Books We Love" Pick by Split This Rock.
- Named a 2015 "Most Meaningful Read" Pick by Minnesota Public Radio.
- Named one of six books to read for LGBT readers at Advocate.
“Whether in praise songs, appraisals or meditations, the poems of Boy with Thorn embody an ardent grace. Their accomplished structures house a fearless sensitivity. Laurentiis fills history with his ‘crucial blood,’ his ‘stubbornness,’ his ‘American tongue’; and history, in return, fills him with crucial muses (from Auden to Hayden), stubborn ghosts (such as Emmett Till), and manifold expressions of culture (southern, sexual, spiritual). The result is an extraordinary, and ultimately, irreducible debut."
—Terrance Hayes, MacArthur "Genius" Fellow
“Laurentiis’ poems have the vastness of a single voice shouted into echo in a deep well, and this is why the collection seems to render more than it contains in mere information alone. Rich in subtext and musically deft, the poems please even as they parry, excited even as they incite one to consider their stakes. For this reason, the collection is owed the reading—and rereading—by poets and students of poetry both.”
—On the Seawall
- Poets reading: After Orlando – Andrew McMillan reads new poets from the US, The Poetry Review (UK), September 2016
- Reginald Harris & Rickey Laurentiis on injured male bodies, Cultural Front, March 2016
- Move from that distance to intimacy: On Rickey Laurentiis’ “I Saw I Dreamt Two Men” and empathy, Jacket2, January 2016
- Appreciations: Lilith Latini’s “Wolves” and Rickey Laurentiis’ “You Are Not Christ”, Lambda Literary, December 2015
- Profile at Poetry International, Poetry International Rotterdam, September 2015
Press & Publicity
- Review | Boy with Thorn, by Rickey Laurentiis, Blackbird, December 2016
- The Human Eye and the Trauma of the "I": A Review of Boy with Thorn (University of Pittsburgh Press), Browse Review, November 2016
- C Derick Varn reviews the first collection by up and coming Black American poet Rickey Laurentiis, Hong Kong Review of Books, June 2016
- Book Review: BOY WITH THORN by Rickey Laurentiis. Black Warrior Review, June 2016
- Book Review: BOY WITH THORN by Rickey Laurentiis, Coal Hill Review, May 2016
- Eleven Poets Recommend New & Recent Collections, On the Seawall, April 2016
- Boy With Thorn By Rickey Laurentiis, Portage Magazine, April 2016
- Boy with Thorn by Rickey Laurentiis, Muzzle Magazine, February 2016
- Microreview: Rickey Laurentiis' Boy with Thorn, Indiana Review, January 2016
- Racism Lives Here. Does God?, Image Journal, January 2016
- Boy with Thorn, Scout, December 2015
- Microreview: Boy with Thorn, The Southeast Review, October 2015
- See How the Body Understands. See it Working: A review on Boy with Thorn by Rickey Laurentiis, Shade (Blog), October 2015
- Boy with Thorn, Publishers Weekly, September 2015