heaven or this review

I’ve bought quite a few new poetry books in the past couple of weeks, so I thought I would kick off my impromptu poetry bonanza with this gem of a collection. Topaz Winters is a 16-year-old poet, whose debut collection, Heaven or This, is an absolute tour-de-force. Some of the poems are honey-sweet, and some of them invite fire and ash. I’ve read them about three times, and each time I am struck by the simultaneous youth and maturity that pervade through her words. For the most part, the poems focus on lesbian relationships, and in particular, first love.

It is a gross understatement to say that they are magical. Every poem is full of fiery passion, and yet maintains a sort of quiet dignity. These are the poems of a young writer who knows what she’s doing, and what she’s talking about. I was especially struck by the poem The Rememberings, which discusses lesbian representation in the media – in particular, the message that ‘here are two girls in love, and one of them/is going to die‘. But Winters turns this on its head, and here, ‘drowning is only a metaphor’.

Fantastic stuff.

Some of my favourite quotes include:

she tells me love is the most beautiful natural disaster

and for the first time, my tsunami heart believes it.

(Cherry Blossoms)

(i am kissing her in the backmost pew of the church

as the preacher spins sermons of pseudo-salvation

for the souls of girls who think other girls are beautiful)

(Legend)

My body is a country pulled three different

ways, trampled into topography of wanting.

(Love in Goddess-Speak)

For more poetry by Topaz Winters, visit her Patreon. I expect beautiful and monstrous things from this poet, I truly do. I wish I could have read her at 16 – I think it would have done a lot for me to realise that other girls had feelings like this, too.

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3 thoughts on “heaven or this review

  1. Brendon says:

    From the brief snippets of her poetry, I can see the power and elegance in her words. I personally love poetry, but I am not a connoisseur. I look for new poet recommendations every now and then, but sometimes struggle in picking out poetry. I appreciate you sharing Topaz Winters and I will make it a point to check her work out.

    Liked by 1 person

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