These Are the Words
Fearless verse to find your voice
by Nikita Gill
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Pub Date 18 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 31 Jul 2022
From international poetry sensation Nikita Gill comes her highly anticipated YA debut These Are the Words: an empowering, feminist and beautifully illustrated poetry collection exploring all the things Nikita wished someone had told her when she was younger.
Reclaim your agency. Discover your power. Find the words.
Taking you on a journey through the seasons of the soul, in this collection Nikita gives you the words to help heal from your first breakup, to celebrate finding your family, to understand first love, to express your anger and your joy, to fight for what you believe in and to help you break some rules to be your truest self.
Gorgeously illustrated throughout by Nikita herself and featuring seasonal astrological poetry, this collection is an achingly beautiful, stunningly warm and fearless expression of truth from one of the most influential and well-known voices in modern poetry.
REMINDER FOR HEALING
You do not owe anyone your forgiveness.
The trees do not apologize to the wind that uproots them.
The rocks do not apologize to the erosion by the sea.
The stars do not apologize to the universe
when they are writhing and dying out.
And you are not obligated to forgive anyone
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 11 members
A lovely, raw, inspiring book of poems/thought fragments for difficult times and emotions. Nikita Gill offers powerful words to help deal with complex feelings trauma, guilt, loss, and nuanced relations with family and friends. Written in a simple and straightforward style, this book contains insightful analogies (often beautifully evoking nature) and lucid reasoning to help readers process and come to terms with grief and troubling feelings. Nikita's elegant and direct words instil positivity, hope, and self-love into minds of readers, offering comfort without trivialising their pain and struggles. This book will be a gift of optimism and courage and healing to anyone, young or old, who is need of validation and strength in the midst of life's injustices and feels burdened by distress or hopelessness.
I was delighted when I first heard about These Are the Words by Nikita Gill. I'm such a big fan of her work, when I was offered the opportunity to review her debut YA poetry collection, I jumped at the chance. And it might just be her best yet.
This may be Gill's first poetry collection for teens, but it feels no different from any of her other poetry collections. These Are the Words still has the same tone fans of her previous work will recognise. Using the cycle of the seasons as a framework for these poems, equating a season to different moods and feelings, Gill still touches on the same topics she has previously, in the same way, just with a different audience in mind. Family, friendship, self-love and body image, love and romance, empowerment, fighting for what you believe in, racism, trauma, and surviving. Each season starts with poems for each astrological sign that fit with the mood, feeling, or theme she gives to each season. Along with her beautiful words, we get the beautiful imagery fans will recognise, of the natural world, the universe, the moon and stars.
This is a collection aimed at teenage girls, and while not every poem is aimed at all girls - Gill addresses girls of colour, girls who aren't straight, and girls who are fat, as a few examples - there is something I can imagine all girls, no matter what their age, can get from These Are the Words. Reading this book is probably the most emotional I've been reading her work; Gill had me sobbing at one point. And it feels a little more emotional on Gill's part, too. At times, there are poems where she is speaking directly to people in her life - her brother, her sister, her parents - and at times to herself, or her younger self, but the majority of poems feel like Gill is talking to you. That's one thing I adore so much about Gill's poetry, her innate ability to feel like she is talking to you personally, specifically. And there's so much compassion and understanding in this book; this isn't anything new for Gill, but it just felt like she upped the ante with this book. In These Are the Words, with fierce love, Gill reaches through the pages, takes hold of your by the hand, says, "Look at me, listen to me!" and tells of her certainty of your worth, of your bravery, of how you are whole even with your pain. It feels so personal, and there's such raw honesty in her words, you can't help but listen to what she is telling you.
These Are the Words isn't published until August, but it felt appropriate to review now, during Pride month, as sexuality is one of the topics Gill covers. Gill is bisexual, and there are poems in this book about loving people both of the same gender and other genders. Poems of first crushes, of accepting and loving yourself, of coming out, of coming out to your parents specifically, of finding the people who love you and accept your as you are - finding your people. They are just so beautiful, and sometimes painful, but again, written with understanding and love and certainty of your worth. Her two poems When You Come Out to Your Parents and Are Not Met With Love, and When You Come Out to Your Parents and You ARE Met With Love are simply stunning.
These Are the Words is a triumph. It's beautiful, emotional, and so powerful, I honestly feel this is a poetry collection that is so, so important for teen girls to read. But adult readers will also get something from this book, too. I honestly believe it's her best yet. My proof is full of sticky tabs of lines or whole poems that really struck me, and I can't wait for August when it will be released, so have my own finished copy, to share excerpts and whole poems, to see the illustrations I know will be gorgeous, as they have been in Gill's previous work. I will treasure it forever.
Thank you to Macmillan Children's Books and Willow Publicity for the proof.
‘These are the words’ by Nikita Gill is a beautiful collection of poems exploring what it is to be human. Perfect for young women although I think there would be a little something for anyone here. Her poetry explores trauma, grief, racism, beliefs, heartache, sexuality, friendship and more besides. There was a lot I connected with and wish I’d had access to honest, empowering writing like this as a teenager as I grappled with loss, finding my voice, self-image and relationships (of very kind) but no one was talking about these things. Not in this way. I know I will be passing many of these words along to my daughters at the right time.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for gifting me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
These Are the Words is Nikita Gill’s debut YA poetry collection, and within the pages you will find some beautiful prose that finds words for the things and experiences a lot of teenagers feel and endure whilst growing up. Navigating life can be tricky for anyone, but everyone remembers how much harder it was as a teenager, how trying to figure yourself out amidst the whole world was, and often still is, daunting. Yet Gill’s poetry offers a warm hand of reassurance, of understanding and acceptance.
Not only this, but even for myself as an adult, I found the poems hit home many times, and I don’t doubt this will be the same for many people who needed to and still do need to hear words of encouragement whatever their age. And due to this, despite it being YA, many people could benefit from reading this poetry collection, so don’t let the intended audience put you off from reading it.
The collection as a whole focuses on many of life’s challenges, from first loves, to coming out, and even the end of a friendship. Each poem is crafted with care and precision, acting as a friend to let you know that you are seen and your feelings and emotions are valid.
If you’ve read any of Gill’s previous poetry collections, you already know what you’re in for, and this doesn’t disappoint. There was never a moment when reading where I thought a poem was too heavy, or barely scratched the surface of a topic, Gill knows exactly what to say and how to say it, and it’s another of my favourite poetry collections. It’s one I’ll re-read and pass along, recommending over and over, because everyone deserves to have someone who understands, and each word does just that.
Did I like the book? Yes
Did I love it? Yes! I knew I would, but somehow I loved it even more.
Would I recommend it? Definitely! If you’re a fan of Gill’s previous collections, this won’t disappoint. If you’re new to her and her works, and within the targeted audience, this is the perfect place to start, but be mindful of the content warnings.
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