Sonderbooks Book Review of

Somebody Give This Heart a Pen

by Sophia Thakur

Somebody Give This Heart a Pen

by Sophia Thakur

Review posted November 5, 2022.
Candlewick Press, 2020. First published in the United Kingdom in 2019. 99 pages.
Review written October 24, 2020, from a library book

This is a book of poems, and Sophia Thakur is a performance poet. Learning that, I wasn’t surprised that several of the poems made me want to read them aloud.

The poems talk about writing out your feelings, and they do express feelings remarkably well. Many of the poems are about loving but breaking up, and some of those made me nod my head at the Truth.

Here’s the start of a poem called “Let Hurt”:

to heal once and one time only
first we must properly hurt.
To understand the sadness that stifles us
we must let it stifle us first
let it sink its teeth deep into our eyes
and let whatever leaks out purse
its lips against our cheeks
like a kiss asking us to be patient
to slow dance with the aching
to understand its twists and turns

Here’s the end of my favorite poem, called “Sprouting.” It’s about new life after healing from a break-up.

This growth is not for you or in spite of you.
In fact it stopped being about you once I let go of you.
But I’m healed enough to be honest.
It did take being emptied by you
to reseed
and to bloom.
So I guess this is me thanking you
for forcing me to move.

And here’s the beginning of the final poem, “When to Write”:

When your fists are ready to paint faces
When there is nowhere to confide
When your skin lingers high above your bones
and you’re so out of touch with self,
When the mouth fails
and shyness strangles
and your throat becomes tight,
When your eyes won’t dry,
Before you fight
Before you fall,
When they lie to you
When they hurt you
When they leave you,

I so glad somebody gave that heart a pen.