A friend and residential school survivor once told me that she thanked God for her time in the residential school, for it had made necessary the healing that had made her so strong. I thought often of this friend as I read Sophia Devi’s GRIT IN HER VEINS, GRACE IN HER SOUL: Poetry for Bold Women; in it, Ms. Devi speaks to the experience of the broken in their journey to healing and empowerment. Sophia Devi writes from a feminist perspective and as a woman of colour in this “captivating collection of empowering and heartwarming poetry,” and her own experiences have shaped her view and conviction.
The concluding words of the Dedication immediately gripped my attention: I hope to Move you, Empower you, & Restore you All In One Breath. This hope conveys challenge, affirmation, and empathy in one breath, and introduces a five-part journey that begins with an acknowledgement of pain and discovery of resilience, then progresses to the rise of empowerment, the affirmation of love relative to self and others, and the discovery of one’s place in the context of the earth. Finally, there is the sharing forward of all that is learned.
Part One: Trials and Tribulations – The journey starts with the depths of pain, loneliness, and brokenness of experience, but Ms. Devi leads the reader each time to self-affirmation. “Crying for Courage” begins on the knees Pleading with God to grant one day of peace, but concludes with rising To take control… To fight back. (p. 3) In “Resilience” (p. 6), she affirms: Pain’s presence can reshape you past the tears. The poet acknowledges and honours the suffering of humanity, while raising the reader to a position of hope and empowerment.
Part Two: A Queen’s Rise – There is a confirmation of the conviction raised in Part One. In “Rebirth” (p.33), effective word choices celebrate the discovery of boldness:
Dusting off your inner Goddess,
Bursting up from her core
Like the phoenix rising from the ashes:
Each poem in this section recalls the awakening begun in Part one and affirms the worthiness of the bold journey. In “Fierce Warriors” (p. 47) we read:
Pouring every ounce of substance into our journey,
We do not need anyone’s permission
To conquer as we rise.
As a true feminist, Ms. Devi does not reject men, but she unequivocally rejects the “patriarchy of toxic masculinity.” (p. 43) For further information, please read “Cold Karma.” (p. 45)
Part Three: Heart and Soul – From discovery within the individual, Ms. Devi moves to relationship with others. Here the poet explores love and intimacy. Intimacy is a sacred bond, as in “Spiritual Force Fields” (p. 76):
The universe kept a sacred place for them to meet,
Transcending space and time,
Finding ways for their paths to align.
And again in “A Love So Divine” (p. 79):
The temple of love we are in
Is so divine,
I now feel your heartbeat in mine.
In a true relationship, there is celebration of a sensuality that is both intimate (“Inside of Me”, p. 67) and holy (“Godsend”, p. 86).
Part Four: Embodying Mother Earth – Here the poet moves to relationship with Mother Earth.
In “Grounded” (p. 99), her use of natural imagery establishes the context:
Weeding out old traumas,
Washing away the turmoil,
Digging deeper, to lay a new foundation,
I discovered endless grace…
With great sensitivity, she explores the power that resides in motherhood (“A Mother’s Yearning”, p. 119):
You were created
By a lady who made
Becoming your mother
Her number one glory….
Please believe, it is deep and true,
Because she never had
What she just gave to you.
References to breath, light, blooming, and Mother Earth draw the reader to appreciate the context of the natural world in which healing and living unfold.
Part Five: Passing the Torch – Healing does not begin and end with us; it draws from the past, and it looks forward. There is The generational cycle, of passing the torch. (p. 124)
Sophia Devi’s poetry moved me to tears and exaltation in one breath — from raw pain to the exhilaration of self-affirmation. These poems are rich in themes of loss, resilience, heartache, love, and healing. Using narrative, lyrical, and concrete poetry, Ms. Devi leads the reader on a journey of self-realization. With bold yet sensitive imagery and insights, she invites the reader to rise from adversity and find “an authentic road to self-discovery.” Poetry like this would be a valuable resource in the school system, to raise awareness of the value and beauty of each life, and perhaps to manifest into who we were born to be. (p. 49) Collections like this are not read and set aside; they echo within us and rise from time to time to affirm our worth. Sophia Devi’s poetry is bold and emboldening; this is poetry for bold women, and it is also poetry for all who honour resilience.
Empowered to overcome adversity, Sophia Devi turned to writing as a way of coping through hardships and articulating her truth. As a result, her poetry became a form of artistic expression, allowing her to explore the depths of her journey while keeping the light in her heart radiating with love. Sophia is passionate about using her voice and inner convictions to speak to our shared humanity as we journey through life’s ups and downs. She believes the creativity that emerges from a poet’s heart can revolutionize our empathetic spirits in bold and uplifting ways.
- Publisher : FriesenPress (Jan. 6 2022)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 138 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1525591320
- ISBN-13 : 978-1525591327
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