cover image Wearing My Mother’s Heart

Wearing My Mother’s Heart

Sophia Thakur. Candlewick, $18.99 (112p) ISBN 978-1-5362-3016-1

Via substantive verse, British performance poet Thakur (Somebody Give This Heart a Pen) stitches together a complex homage to her forebears. In an introduction, the author writes that “it’s imperative to understand the stories that the women before us lived.” She also recognizes that her, her mother’s, and her grandmother’s “opinions on... race and womanhood clash hugely,” even as she details things they have in common, such as their capacity for love and care. In poems that span cultures, generations, and locations—and are often written from the perspectives of her Gambian and Southeast Asian relatives—Thakur offers brief yet thoughtful meditations on her ancestors’ histories. A vulnerable feeling of reverence for her family’s past lingers throughout the collection, as when she writes “I hope to catch a glimpse, if only a droplet… of what I/ would’ve been like if born to your time. And I’m sure that’s/ the reason behind your mother’s slow smile./ You’re wild...and oh/ how we wish we were.” Through powerful polyphonic narration, Thakur presents profound exclamations of affection for the ever-deepening nature of mother-daughter relationships, while simultaneously grappling with how violence, imposed assimilation, and exclusion affect Black youth. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)