Where Hope Comes From

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Author: Nikita Gill
Genres: Poetry
Pub. Date: Feb. 2021 (read Oct. 2021)

I don’t often review poetry because I’m not always sure what to say about it after the fact, but I wanted to write a short review for this one since I enjoyed it so much. I read one of Gill’s other anthologies, Wild Embers, a few years ago, as well as the collection she edited called SLAM. Those were both great, but this was definitely my favourite.

Where Hope Comes From is a collection of poems about life during the pandemic. I knew the pandemic was soon going to start showing up in a lot of books and to be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to it. We’ve all lived through it for almost 2 years now and in some ways I want the escapism of simpler times. I stumbled across this one in Chapters and bought it because I thought it might be nominated in the Goodreads Choice Awards.

I’m so glad I did buy it because I ended up enjoying it so much more than I thought I would! I feel like we’ve consumed so much media about the pandemic in the past 2 years, but until I picked this up I had no idea how much I needed to read thoughtful and reflective writing about the pandemic. Granted, this is mostly about the early pandemic and I would argue the second and third waves were emotionally much more challenging than the first one, but I feel like Gill does such a great job of evoking all the feelings I felt at that time and giving voice to the pain and sadness that we’ve all felt over the past 2 years.

Poetry is a medium unlike any other and it was such a good reminder of collectively what we’ve all been through. The poems are simple and I think that’s what makes them so powerful. They are very accessible to a wide audience. I oscillate with poetry because I really like it, but a lot of the time I feel like it’s just a bit over my head. Nikita Gill’s poetry is relatable and it’s just what I needed in a time when I think we’re all ready to move on, but burnt out over what we’ve collectively experienced. Definitely recommend if you’re feeling reflective.

Wild Embers

Rating: ⭐⭐.5
Author: Nikita Gill
Genres: Poetry, Feminism
Pub. date: Nov. 2017 (read Nov. 2019)

I read Wild Embers as part of my continued foray into Poetry. Actually, this was the first anthology I picked up when I first got the hankering to read some poetry, but I ended up getting distracted by Andrea Gibson’s, Lord of the Butterflies when the Goodreads Choice Awards were announced and ended up putting this one aside for awhile.

I do feel like my review may be a little unfair because I did really enjoy the first half of this book. I was feeling very inspired and enjoyed the feminist angle and unapolegeticness that Gill takes in her poetry. But after I set it aside to read Gibson’s latest anthology, which I think is fantastic, the second half of Wild Embers felt just a little bit lacklustre. Gill’s writing didn’t have quite as much depth for me as Gibson’s, which rings of such emotional authenticity. But I don’t want to be unfair and compare the two too much, because they are totally different and I did still really enjoy Gill’s poetry as well.

Gill is all about female independence and being the heroes of our own stories. She doesn’t want her own children to be handed down the same themes of reliance on men that she learned from fairy tales and Disney princess movies growing up. One section of her book is actually dedicated to rewriting the stories of the Disney princesses and I really enjoyed that part. I just felt some of the themes got a little bit repetitive after awhile, although I really liked how Gill also spent time writing about mental illness and the benefits of therapy.