Book Review: Wild Embers by Nikita Gill (2017)

December 19th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

“She is alone. | And oh | how brilliantly she shines.”

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for allusions to rape and interpersonal violence.)

We are the blood
of the witches
you thought were dead.

We carry witchcraft in our bones
whilst the magic still sings
inside our heads.

When the witch hunters
imprisoned our ancestors
when they tried to burn the magic away.

Someone should have
warned them
that magic cannot be tamed.

Because you cannot burn away
what has always
been aflame.

(“Witch”)

It is the law of the universe
that even ghosts understand
as long as they matter to someone
they still exist and in your heart
they stand.

(“Ghost Story”)

I really wanted to love this collection of poetry more than I did – although this isn’t to suggest that I didn’t enjoy it. Nikita Gill’s poetry is powerful, passionate, and fiercely feminist. With Wild Embers, she fans the flames of rebellion – against a culture so steeped in misogyny and sexism that it’s taken as the norm, the default, the air we breathe – and at a time when we need it, desperately. Whether reimaging sexist fairy tales and myths or challenging abusers – including her own – Gill’s words cut deep, to the bone. They’re also accessible and satisfying, in a way that poetry isn’t always.

Yet she often employs similar imagery and themes, such that the poems start to feel a little repetitive by the final quarter of the book. Less might be more here. Also, I wish she’d taken the idea of giving each part its own unique theme and run with it a little harder. The first section is so clearly about humanity’s relationship to the cosmos, the starstuff that coalesces in our atoms and spirits … and yet, with the exception of parts III and VI (fairy tales and mythology, respectively), she mostly abandons themes (or at least more apparent ones) after so skillfully priming her audience for them.

Overall, though, it’s a valuable collection of poetry, raw and full of hope and resistance.


 

Contents

Cover
Title Page
Copyright
Dedication

Untitled I
Miracle
Multiverse
The Meaning of a Day
The Possibility in Impossibility
Growth
Dark Matter
Venus
The Sun and the Moon
Dark Days
Your Heart is not a Hospital
A Conversation with My Mental Illness
Unlearning
Black Hole
Ghost Story
Lonely
Endings

Untitled II
Witch
Magic
Dragon’s Breath
Sorcery
With Love From Midnight
The Art of Unmissing
Wolves
Your Trauma
When Love Dies
Burning
Why I am Magic
The Well Spoken Heart
Conjuring
Wolf and Woman
Anger
Learned Helplessness
An Ocean Called Healing
Baptism
Graveyards and Gardens
Your Torment Has Meaning
The Bones of Trauma
Homes
Forgiveness
Reminders about Healing
Toxic People
Reminiscences
Memories
Love and the Moon
Reinvention
I Love You
Statistics
For Her

Untitled III
Sleeping Beauty
Belle
Ariel
Snow White
Cinderella
Little Red Riding Hood
Alice in Wonderland
Heroes
Girls of the Wild

Untitled IV
Who You Are
The Epiphany
Loving What is Broken
The Becoming
When the Monster Calls
Survival
Journey
Boys will be Boys
Three Sentences
Hostage
Silence

Untitled V
The Truth about Art
Fire
Wild
Weathered
Why She Stayed
Her Skin
You are Everything
Desecration
Mythology

Untitled VI
Helen
Aphrodite
Artemis
Athena
Persephone
Hera
Demeter

Untitled VII
Too Much
Daughters
Courage
Son
Self Care
Let Go
Secret Language
Fossilised Love
Hunted
Primitive
Precipice of Loss
Reset
Surviving
Therapy
Small Magic
Temporary
Pandora’s Box
Temple
Questions to Ask Yourself
Value
Pieces
Time
Belonging
Haunted
Nurture
Blossom
My Monsters
Never Forget
Fuel
Three Versions of You
Earth
Planets and Stars
Bedtime Stories

Acknowledgements
About the Author
Newsletters

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply