Gold Pours by Aurore Gatwenzi

Aurore Gatwenzi’s first collection, Gold Pours, is a stunning book of poetry. The language is accessible, the images mesmerizing, and the tone is always warm and introspective. The collection is divided into sections with epigraphs from scripture; the poems included in each section are grouped based on their relationship to the biblical quotation. At first, I wondered at how difficult it might be to weave the secular into meditations about God and the spiritual world, but Aurore Gatwenzi does this with skill, and it seems utterly natural to her poetry. She strikes a balance between the spiritual and her lived experience, which gives the impression of an easy, everyday relationship with spirituality, which I found inspiring and refreshing.

 The poems in Gold Pours range in style from many short free-verse poems, to dialogues between two voices, to longer prose poems. A memorable feature of Gatwenzi’s poetry is the way she bolds her titles at the end of each poem. I began reading without quite knowing where each poem was going, but when I reached the end, the bolded title stood out like a life lesson or a key phrase that helped cement the poem’s message in my mind. In her poems, Gatwenzi tackles a range of big concepts: freedom, truth, childhood, love, heartbreak, joy, and inner strength. I was especially moved by her poems about relationships; she writes about heartbreak in relatable terms without ever veering into the maudlin. The poem “i can’t wait to never speak to you again”, for example, uses simple evocative language to convey the complicated emotions that churn during a breakup:

my thoughts keep jogging


wrestle with my mind (95)

Gatwenzi’s rhythm and her playfulness with sound point to her background as a spoken word artist, and I imagine that these poems would be fascinating to hear performed in person at a live reading.

In the book’s “Notes” section, Gatwenzi expands on the title of the collection. She writes, “The book is called Gold Pours because of the feeling of being in the dark gone through hell and having been broken so many times but filling the cracks with gold is beautiful”. This brings to mind the Japanese pottery practice of Kintsugi, in which broken pottery is repaired with gold joinery. As a philosophy, Kintsugi treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than flaws. Gatwenzi continues, “gold goes through a process…melting and refining is building character to fill my cracks…cracks are the unrestrained feelings pouring out into poetry”. (139) Gold Pours is an exercise in revealing these cracks and breakages and exploring how they contribute to a complete person.

I loved reading this collection; it left me with an increased appreciation for the experiences in my own life that shape who I am in the present. Gold really does pour from this collection—it flows, it emanates.

Aurore Gatwenzi describes herself as a social butterfly on the cusp of millennialism and zoomers. She holds a degree in Modern Languages and spent two years in Spain teaching English as a Second Language. She is a frequent participant in the Sudbury Poetry Slam scene and is included in the anthology Fem Grit: A Collection of Northern Voices (2020). She is a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Sudbury. She currently lives in Sudbury.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Latitude 46 (Oct. 16 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 142 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 198898937X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1988989372

Rachel Fernandes was raised in Ottawa, where she completed her Honours BA and MA in English at the University of Ottawa. She is now based in Kingston, where she is a PhD Candidate studying contemporary North American literature. Her research focuses on mixed race identity in various genres, including memoir, poetry, and the novel.
Over the last decade, she has published a smattering of poems through small presses such as In/Words, Joypuke, Coven, and Feathertale, and served on the editorial boards of The Ottawa Arts Review and The Lamp Literary Journal. She loves reading even more than she loves writing, and is excited to share and discuss new Canadian work through The Miramichi Reader.