salt. by Nayyirah Waheed


Kindle Edition, 259 pages
Published October 17th 2013 by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Source: Purchased

I have had salt. on my to read list over at Goodreads for quite a while now but since I didn’t have a Kindle or any e-reader and the physical copy cost way too much for me, I wasn’t able to read it. My brother gifted me a tablet recently and voila, I suddenly have an ereader (which I don’t use all that much but still). So I got myself a copy of .salt and it knocked my socks off (okay in the interests of being honest, I wasn’t wearing socks but if I had been wearing them, they would have been knocked off).

I don’t know much about Nayyirah Waheed, actually I don’t know anything about her but gosh, her poetry is beautiful. If one can know a poet through the words she writes, I would say Nayyirah Waheed is a passionate person, exploring her identity, her colour, her skin, her self and all that entails, with words and emotions and beauty.

She writes about immigration:

you broke the ocean in
half to be here.
only to meet nothing that wants you.

Does this not make you think about the refugee crisis or should I say the humanity crisis? She writes about mothers:

cruel mothers are still mothers.
they make us war.
they make us revolution.
they teach us the truth. early.
mothers are humans. who
sometimes give birth to their pain. instead
of children.

I’m honestly not sure whether the proliferation of full stops was a result of the formatting or if they were intentional. Let’s say the latter. The full stops introduce a sort of fragmented-ness to the poetry and force the reader to pause and then read and then pause again which in turn makes the reader not just read but retain.

This poem, “the lie,” made me grin and I’m sure the ladies reading it will grin as well.

i bleed
every month.
but do not die.
how am i

A lot of Waheed’s poems are about race and colour. She cautions:

you are.
is not
you are.

The following poem, in particular, got me nodding.

trust anyone who says
they do not see colour.
this means
to them
you are invisible.

salt. is filled with beautiful words that will make you think once and again. Definitely a collection to check out if poetry is jam–even if it is not.

sometimes the night wakes in the
middle of me.
and I can do nothing
become the moon.

One response to “salt. by Nayyirah Waheed

  1. I’ve never heard of this, nor do I read much poetry, but I think I’ll have to check it out now. I really like the passages you included, and I can definitely relate to women being magic. Lol :)

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