I Wanna Be Petty // I Will Be Great

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I Wanna Be Petty // I Will Be Great

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I Wanna Be Petty // I Will Be Great by Jeremy Boyd
Published December 5th, 2017
Physical Chapbook
40 pages

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“Jeremy Boyd’s I Wanna Be Petty / I Will Be Great is the Trump-era take on suburban malaise I didn’t know I was waiting for. Whether the poems’ speaker is holding a bag of dog poop while angry white people on ATVs rush by, sharing breakfast with a love interest during the women’s march, or trying in vain to return $40 left in a gas station bathroom to its rightful owner, these poems carefully uncover the political within the quotidian. They ask spare but salient questions—“what are we seeing? / is this our paradise / unadulterated?”—and make demands—“then we pay the goddamn reparations.” Boyd’s conversational philosophizing, understated romanticism, and wry humor teach us to “grow around / what we want to know,” from the risky sweetnesses of young love to the potentiality of resistance."

— Liz Bowen, author of Sugarblood

“There is a clear-eyed, affable wisdom in the poetry of Jeremy Boyd. The memories he presents to his readers - of people-watching with a girlfriend at the beach, of the arrangement of objects in a stranger’s apartment, of yard work at the age of 14 - are lyrically rendered, but not sentimentalized. His enthusiasm for the world is convincing because it lacks an agenda.”

—  Edward Mullany, author of The Three Sunrises & the comic strip Rachel & Ben

“Every time I look at the title of Jeremy Boyd’s new chapbook, I Wanna Be Petty // I Will Be Great, I see “pretty” instead of “petty.” Maybe it’s because these poems are pretty. But not conventionally so. He writes candidly but carefully, shining quiet wisdom & rhythmic imagery on intimate thoughts & “mundane” subject matter. This poetry takes risks though, & the end of the chapbook feels like a crescendo as the last poem, after a series of brief punchy poems, explodes into long form about the topics Boyd seems most concerned with: fragmented identity, relationship dynamics, political & ethical life in the modern world, & the bewildering question of What is Art.”

— Matthew Sherling, author of bring me my absolute surrender


I Wanna Be Petty is brilliantly addictive. A cocktail of poems made mixed with passion, pain and humor all packaged in an honest and sobering way. Boyd offers a rare perspective with an insight that we all need to experience.

— D Watkins, New York Timesbestselling author of The Beast Side and The Cook Up


"Jeremy extracts comedy from chaos and grace from the mundane. His mind moves sporadically between topics, moods, and concepts almost as fast as American culture does today. He seems to enjoy overwhelming his audience with honesty. This book is full of raw, gruesome beauty, and light hearted dark humor."

— Seth Pala, Visual Artist


"There is a death in the middle of this book. While substitute teaching, Boyd writes the kids ask why I’m in the room and I smile, and I nod my head in agreement - with him, with the children, with my body and this head attached to it. I look around at the emptiness all the time. I ask myself this, and I feel the answer in my bones."

— Sarah Jean Alexander, author of WILDLIVES