Somebody Give This Heart a Pen
Be with yourself for a moment.
Be yourself for a moment.
Airplane mode everything but yourself for a moment.
From acclaimed performance poet Sophia Thakur comes a stirring collection of coming-of-age poems exploring issues of identity, difference, perseverance, relationships, fear, loss, and joy. From youth to school to family life to falling in love and falling back out again—the poems draw on the author’s experience as a young mixed-race woman trying to make sense of a lonely and complicated world. With a strong narrative voice and emotional empathy, this is poetry that will resonate with all young people, whatever their background and whatever their dreams.
Thakur is a young United Kingdom based poet with a lyrical, somewhat tangential style. (Readers may note the British influence is noticeable less in her word choices than it is in a handful of references with specific social and political significance.) Topics also vary widely, encompassing and expressing aspects of depression, anxiety, self-harm, toxic relationships, identity, racism, romance, loss... Many with an overarching coming-of-age theme.
The book itself is divided into four sections: Grow, Wait, Break, Grow Again. And while there is great topical variety, the order seems largely random.
My feelings are a bit mixed on this experience. From a poetical preference standpoint, just a handful of these works resonated or lingered in my recollection. (I have a penchant for viscerally evocative diction and emotionally potent turn-of-phrase.) Some pieces--particularly the short ones--were more lacking in cadence than I would have liked. But there were a few that stood out as truly wrenching and vulnerable. Among them Forever Death, Fighting as Strangers, and Sprouting. The later of which contains my favorite stanza in this collection:
Maybe one day, by accident, you'll take a sip or dip
in the river that healed me. And in swallowing,
taste all of the things that could have killed me,
but instead, helped me grow into everything that you swore
I could never become without you.
All in all, a promising debut. This is certainly a poet worth watching as she continues to grow in her craft and come into her own.