Book review · poetry

Book review: salt.

Salt, by Nayyirah Waheed

18689968Description: (from goodreads)

Salt is a journey through warmth and sharpness. This collection of poetry explores the realities of multiple identities, language, diasporic life & pain, the self, community, healing, celebration, and love.


It seems I was lucky enough to get to this book on kindle while it was free for a few days! But it was Laura who first brough this book to my attention some times ago, so thank you very much Laura! 🙂 (her blog, her instagram)
I started this one yesterday right before bed because I couldn’t sleep and wanted something short to get my eyes on, while waiting for sleep to come. Then when I woke up this morning I had to finish it because it was just too beautiful and important.

you broke the ocean in
half to be here.
only to meet nothing that wants you.

– immigrants

So this is my first time reviewing a poetry book. Or should I say a poetry collection? All my apologies if I doing this wrong 😦
I originally thought I didn’t liked poetry, I’d never felt anything that strong before when reading poems, the one I studied in school was not bad but just not for me. Plus I grew quickly bored of poetry by old white male who are sad because women don’t want them… (Just this semester there was a serious case of this one and ughhhh no)

BUT modern poetry (can I say this?) seems to be right up my alley. Full of emotion, of anger and love, full of truth and with a rhythm that hypnotised me.

my heart is in my mind. i think this is why i am
an artist.

Salt. is written by a black woman, and if you aren’t aware of this when starting reading it, it quickly transpire from the text. The theme of Africa and the experience of being an african american are deeply embedded in this book. For me, a white french girl, it was eye opening. I’m not saying I wasn’t aware of the things this book talked about, but while I try and follow as many different people from everywhere on social media, it’s still thanks to books like this that I understand on a deeper level what it is like be african american, the emotional baggage that it entails.

Salt. also deals with being a woman, especially a black woman, in this patriarcal world, with the rise of white supremacy, it also talks about toxic masculinity and how it affects men. It talks about beauty, the beauty of black people, this beauty that they have had to fight for, to regain. But also about language, this english language that was forced on so many. From colonialism to being a mother, from the ocean to the issue of consent, from writing to crying…
Salt. had some very calming poems, some short and strong, short and to the point, to the heart; and others longer and angrier (anger also being a theme addressed by Nayyirah Waheed). It found this was all perfectly well paced.

being in love with my people
does
not mean i hate others.
how ridiculous is that.

-self

I want to quote so many of these poems here, I have bookmarked more pages than I can count, I want to shove it into your faces like “look, LOOK at how powerful this is, how important, how I wish everyone could read it.” but I also don’t want to spoil anything, to let you discover them if (I hope) you pick up this book.

Some of the poems were not aimed at me, I accept that and am even glad of it, I took them in for what they were, the compassion to her people, the shared experience. But some seemed to be there for me too, like the author knew I was reading and extanded a hand to me, to every reader stumbling into her work. There were poems about her, about her people, about the reader, about everyone.

some people
when they hear
your story.
contract.
others
upon hearing your story.
expand.
and
this is how
you
know.

I feel I didn’t do this book justice with this awkward first poetry review…
But I would highly recommend to give this one a try, even if you think poetry isn’t your thing. Thanks to Nayyirah Waheed I’ve decided that I will try and read more poetry from here on!


The next will most probably be nejma by Nayyirah Waheed too, since it was also free for a few days and I grabbed it, same for bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward, and I’m thinking about buying The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace because I saw it a lot on instagram and loved what I saw!


If you have any poetry recommendation for me, do share! 🙂

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