Somebody Give This Heart A Pen by Sophia Thakur
Published October 3rd 2019 by Walker Books
“Do I plan ahead or ride the wave
Does the world belong to the rich or the brave
How often did you inner circle change
What happens to the secrets you gave.”
From acclaimed performance poet Sophia Thakur comes a powerful new collection of poems exploring issues of identity, difference, perseverance, relationships, fear, loss and joy. The collection is arranged as life is: from youth to school, to home life, falling in love and falling straight back out again. The poems draw on the author’s experience as a young mixed-race young 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. As she says, she hopes the poems will help readers “grow through what they go through”.
I don’t read an awful lot of poetry and I’m not even close to well versed in the subject but it is something I enjoy now and again. Something about the title of Sophia Thakur’s “This Heart Needs a Pen” just jumped out at me and I was pleased to be given a chance to receive an early review copy from Walker Books in exchange for an honest review.
I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting, a lot of the poetry I have read tends to be either Sylvia Plath, Rupi Kar, Amanda Lovelace and Lang Leav, the last three tend to have a very particular style they all share and Lovelace and Leav have a lot of romance themed poems which are nice but sometimes I just want a happy poem about clouds you know? Somebody Give This Heart a Pen is split into five chapters of sorts, the first of which is …process and consists of just one poem that feels kind of like a foreword of sorts about how Sophia writes her poetry, it’s a beautiful and inspiring piece.
The next chapter is Grow, followed by Wait, Break, and Grow Again with each section having a particular feel to it which I enjoyed. Somebody Give This Heart A Pen hits on so many issues, race, gender, childhood, adulthood, love, children, finding your way and I will include a content warning for self-harm in regards to a poem called “cutting” which was one that heavily struck a chord with me. Grandma can you hear me and Girl, you better sing were two of my favourites as I really connected with them and found I went back and read them again when I finished the book and I’m sure I’ll be reading them again.
There are so many varied styles and topics that I think this is a book that will have something for most people, I will definitely be looking for more of Sophia’s work.