I got hooked to poetry in college. I loved the flow of it, the subtlety and directness of it, and how it expressed so much with so little.
The classics are always something I fall back on but I find contemporary poetry to be so much more hard-hitting.
Here are some of my 2018 reads in Poetry.
- Nom Chomp Slurp: This is close to my heart because it’s written by my baby sister. It is an awesome book to encourage kids to eat fruits. The catchy rhyme and vibrant illustrations hold the attention of any kid. Good book for early readers to read on their own as well.
- Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini: A beautifully told heart-wrenching short narrative that takes you in the mind of a father about to get into a raft for refugees with his son. You can feel the pain, nostalgia, and hope. The book might be over in ten minutes but the thought of it stays with you for much longer. I’ve read it twice already.
- The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur: The words spoke to me…even though some of the situations I have not experienced, I could still feel her emotions through her words. I know lots of people have said she has copied style and thoughts from other poets but not everyone has been exposed to that many writings. I have read hers and felt a connection with her words. Moreover, style and emotions can be repeated by different people but it doesn’t necessarily connect with readers. That requires talent too.
- Kumukanda by Kayo Chingonyi: There are some references that I wasn’t familiar with but it doesn’t distract from the thought and feeling behind the words. The poems have a beat to it, almost like rap and it flows easily. The imagery and use of words invoke nostalgia in some cases and in others a sense of empathy when he talks about dealing with his race in a country that’s predominantly white. At every reading you’ll discover more depth and understanding.
- Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry: A beautiful and empowering collection of verses that will open new meanings every time you re-read it. Some of her popular verses like Still I Rise, Phenomenal Woman, and Why the Caged Bird Sings are powerful but so are those that speak of racism and slavery.
- Selected Poems by Gulzar: I had expected some high brow stuff but the poems were simple with vivid imagery and some nostalgic. The first one about books was something I could relate to so well. The translation is spot on giving you the opportunity to enjoy the poems twice if you also read Hindi.
- Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill: It’s a concept many have tried… a retelling of fairy tales from a more feminist point of view, except in this book even the villains get a do-over. There are some repetitions but overall it is an exploration of women empowerment, toxic masculinity, and domestic abuse. There are plenty of memorable lines and some of the poems are actually long paragraphs, but it all has a nice rhythm.