Somebody Give This Heart a Pen by Sophia Thakur

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Somebody Give This Heart a Pen by Sophia Thakur

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Category: Anthologies
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Holly Lewtas
Reviewed by Holly Lewtas
Summary: Whether you are a fan of poetry or not, this collection of poems will leave you in awe of Thakur's writing style and ability to express such prominent emotions as anxiety and self-doubt.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 128 Date: October 2019
Publisher: Walker Books
ISBN: 978-1406388534

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Sophia Thakur's debut anthology is a collection of poems that are all unique, whether in relation to their style, length or theme. The collection is split into four sections, titled 'grow','wait','break'and 'grow again', guiding you through a process which is one of the foundations that the anthology is built on. Each section begins with a foregrounded title page containing various small pieces of writing, ranging from a quote by a Nigerian playwright, to African proverbs. This provides a nice introduction to the section before you are immersed into the beautifully written and eloquent poems that Thakur has clearly put her heart and soul into.

Throughout my education I have been forced to read poems and pick them apart, analysing every word and then writing extensive essays about them. Because of this I have always actively avoided poetry, preferring to sit down with a novel which I believed was the only way to tell a story. After readingSomebody Give This Heart a Pen I cannot believe how wrong I was and also how much I have been missing out on. Thakur has created a collection of poems that are like little stories themselves, providing a glimpse into Thakur's life. However, you learn more about Thakur through her poetic writing than would be possible even by reading a simple autobiography. Thakur has provided the reader with an opportunity to delve deep into her mindset, allowing them to see how she views the world through the comparisons she makes and the metaphors that she creates. With poetry in the past I have tended to feel at a distance from the author, yet Thakur has written in a manner that is easily interpretable without losing any depth. It was simply one of the most intimate experiences I have ever had whilst reading somebody else's work.

Within a few pages of this book I found myself noting down my favourite lines, such as Try to find space to hear what your heart says. But, after I had already filled a page of notes I came to the realisation that this is a book that will be brilliant in its entirety and deserves to be constantly referred back to, not broken up.

The poems within this collection deal with a range of themes, including Thakur's father's accent, politics, love and racism. The poems that stood out to me the most were those surrounding anxiety and body image. Thakur shocked me with her description of anxiety as I had never read it so well described. Even if I were to try to describe how she explains it I would not do Thakur any justice, you will simply have to read the poem titled Scary Everyone. There is a large variation in the length of the poems contained within this anthology as well, some poems are a couple of pages whilst others are just a few lines, but the force of them is still the same. Using only a few lines Thakur is able to give the reader a message, showing her talent lies in the quality in which she writes.

Ultimately, Thakur has created a beautiful anthology with each poem rightfully deserving a place within this collection. Writing this review I am confused how Thakur was able to create poems that contain the words'lit'and 'Beyoncé' without making a mockery of them or lessening their tastefulness. One thing I do know after finishing this book within one sitting is that I will be turning back to it for years to come.

Thakur has swayed me not to give up on poetry and I would recommend you read Rising Stars: New Young Voices in Poetry by Pop Up Projects which contains the voices of five poets. You might also enjoy The Obsidian Poplar and Other Stories by Lightfall Literary Agency (Editor).

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