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Megan Fox and her Poetic Poisonous Boys

By Srishti Kapil


Actor Megan Fox’s debut poetry book, Pretty Boys Are Poisonous, is now available for pre-order. Said to explore themes of love, relationships and men, we dive into what we can expect from her writing.

Book cover, titled "Pretty Boys are Poisonous" against a white-to-red background with a snake slithering through a pair of simple illustrated lips in the middle
Photo: Pretty Boys are Poisonous by Megan Fox, Simon & Schuster

Every time Megan Fox's name graces the headlines, I find myself bracing for a PDA of an entirely different kind. Blood-filled vials, unconventional engagement rings, and mysterious tantric rituals have become part of the celebrity narrative alongside her on-and-off partner, Machine Gun Kelly. However, in a refreshing departure from the occult-like aura, she has been trending for an altogether different reason this time: her debut poetry book. Pretty Boys are Poisonous, scheduled to release on November 9 by Simon and Schuster, is already an Amazon bestseller.


For the (unfortunately) uninitiated, Megan Fox is an American actress and model who first gained fame for her role in the Transformers franchise. Starting her career at only thirteen, she became recognised for her quintessential American beauty. She openly discussed instances of objectification and sexism she encountered early in her career. In 2009, she likened the director Michael Bay's directing style to that of Hitler, a statement that reverberated throughout Hollywood and eventually led to her removal from the blockbuster series.


In a candid conversation with Glamour UK, Fox reflects, "I think that I was ahead of the #MeToo movement by almost a decade. I was always speaking out against some of the abusive, misogynistic, patriarchal things that were going on in Hollywood back in 2008 and 2009, way before people were ready to embrace that or tolerate it. And I actually got ridiculed for doing it. I think people just have had time to review that, in retrospect."


It is true that Fox has long been a vocal advocate against the mistreatment of women in the entertainment industry, well before the #MeToo movement gained momentum. However, as an on-and-off performance poet myself, the transformation her public persona has undergone over the past few years leaves me uncertain about the artistic direction her words might take.


In a statement coinciding with the announcement of her book, Fox writes, "These poems were written in an attempt to excise the illness that had taken root in me because of my silence. I’ve spent my entire life keeping the secrets of men, my body aches from carrying the weight of their sins. My freedom lives in these pages, and I hope that my words can inspire others to take back their happiness and their identity by using their voice to illuminate what’s been buried, but not forgotten, in the darkness.”


Beyond the angsty, gothic undertones that permeate her upcoming collection, I am still pretty excited to read what Fox has to say. Despite enduring the confines of being typecast as a sex symbol and enduring unfair criticism for her parenting choices and glamorous lifestyle as a mother of three, she stands firm. Her voice, now to be expressed through poetry, is poised to resonate.


The world of celebrity poetry is not uncharted territory. Throughout history, various celebrities have ventured into prose and poetry (Oprah, Prince Harry, Alicia Keys) while a distinct phenomenon has also arisen where poets ascend to stardom through traditional media exposure. I recall Rupi Kaur's rise, her appearances on the Tonight Show marking a paradigm shift in the monetisation of performance poetry. While literary circles harbour criticisms, Kaur's role in making poetry fashionable deserves to be acknowledged and studied.


#Instapoetry, a subgenre that now stands as an established contemporary category, needs to be discussed in the same breath as Rupi Kaur. Characterised by succinct, direct lines, often presented in aesthetically pleasing fonts and occasionally paired with artwork, #Instapoetry has harnessed the power of social media for distribution. In a liberating move away from the constraints of traditional publishing methods, this form of expression has democratised literature, removing the chokehold that traditional media once held over the publishing business. Having said that, it is essential to recognise that this newfound accessibility doesn't always equate to unparalleled quality. In a trade-off between accessibility and depth, the watered-down simplicity associated with this genre stands in stark contrast to the nuanced subtlety inherent in traditional poetry.


The resurgence of reading and literature, in general, has found its moment in the sun, helped by Kaia Gerber starting a book club during the lockdown. As an aspiring novelist, having my work included in Reese Witherspoon's book club holds almost an equal amount of honour as gracing the New York Times bestsellers roster. In an age dominated by TikTok and Instagram, the endorsement of a book by a prominent figure can wield incredible influence. British Youtuber Jack Edwards (BookTuber, to be precise), dissects these celebrity-recommended books, revealing the literary tastes of icons like Harry Styles and Kendall Jenner. These videos usually get millions of views; we are all interested in what our favourite celebs are interested in.


When talking about art critique, I staunchly champion the subjectivity that defines our tastes. Whether one chooses to indulge in Mission Impossible or gravitates toward Oppenheimer says little about their character. The age-old debate between highbrow and lowbrow art is a conundrum as old as art itself, and the world of celebrity-authored literature stands as no exception. As someone who studied literature during my undergraduate years, dissecting both films and literary works, I understand the inherent value of subjecting celebrity poetry and writing to some analytical scrutiny.


While I might not hold sky-high expectations for Megan Fox's literary offering, possibly sharing thematic similarities with insta-poets, there's hope for a pleasant surprise. Much like how audiences segregate between blockbuster spectacles and indie films, a similar partition can be applied to celebrity writing versus the realm of professional writers. Comparing the two would be an injustice.


As a glimpse into her poetic abilities, Megan Fox is known to share short odes to MGK on Instagram:


"here goes my heart

manifest outside of my body

draped in the towering silhouette of a most unusually handsome boy


magical and haunted

kinetic and tortured

ethereal and dangerous

cosmic

lawless

eternal

creative genius


The journey will likely be perilous

but there is no destination without him"


Setting aside personal opinions about Machine Gun Kelly and the potential overuse of adjectives, it's evident that Fox's verse is not without its merits. It carries an enchanting, romantic, and vulnerable quality, leaving us with a sense of anticipation for her upcoming collection. Fox has previously revealed her admiration for Nietzsche, an insight gleaned from her tempestuous moments with ex-husband Brian Austin Green of "Beverly Hills 90210" fame. Following a heated argument, she reportedly adorned his walls with lyrics from Aftersong. If Nietzsche indeed serves as an inspiration, it adds an intriguing layer to the enigma that is Megan Fox.


In the aforementioned Glamour article, Megan Fox shared her aspirations for her legacy:


"I’d like to be remembered as somebody who was brave, who was unafraid to explore and become myself, regardless of anyone else’s commentary. But I also want my legacy eventually to be someone who helped others, either helped others to find themselves in a similar way or helped others to feel love, to feel self-love and to be able to give that love to their own children and to their own family. Because that spreads, obviously. And that’s what we’re all missing right now."


In this context, her poetry book becomes not just a literary endeavour but a testament to her bravery and commitment to spreading love in a world that yearns for it. If it is as nuanced as Fox's career, it promises to resonate with readers far and wide, transcending the boundaries of celebrity and artistry. As long as we steer clear of all the blood-drinking talk, you can count on me to review it!

 

About the Writer:

Bio: Srishti is a media and communications professional based in New Delhi, India. She loves reading literary fiction and watching combat sports.


Twitter: @SrishtiKapil 

Instagram: @lateherealso 


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