Nikita Gill is a twenty-something poet, of British-Indian heritage. She’s an Instagram poet, which is a social media phenomenon of the our new century. And, as such, I’m not really her audience.

But, since I read another of her books earlier this year, her publisher asked if I’d like to read and review this newer book. So, I gave it a go. And it just wasn’t great. Or perhaps I’m about thirty years too old for her sentiments. I’m more of a Mary Oliver reader, I confess.

Gill offers her readers a journey in eight sections, including The Anguish, The Acceptance, The Survival, and The Beginning. She walks them through the pain of abuse, rape, rage, sorrow, strength, and freedom. Her pain is obvious. And she’s actively trying to feel better and get past this abusive person. That’s certainly admirable. I’m just not a fan of her writing style.

My conclusions

My favorite section in Gill’s book is titled The Worship. In it she retells several Greek myths in short poems and one longer prose poem. Having read Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles earlier this year, this brief retelling was my favorite poem of the group. The others in this section were fairly imaginative as well. But the other sections just left me flat.

Your Heart is the Sea is a journey of words, but nothing sings here. Difficult as it is to live with such pain, her life is simply ordinary. And that’s just the way I’d describe her use of language—only average.

She doesn’t make the language of her feelings into a song. The poems are more like receiving a text message, phone call, email from a friend. They aren’t crafted and inspired, and carefully wrought for months to perfect the imagery. Overall, I suppose this is because Gill writes Insta-poetry, which is a now a stylistic category of its own. And it sells, but I’m not likely to buy it. Or read any more. I’ll stick to my old-school favorites, thanks.


My thanks to Thought Catalog Books and the author for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.