• Elina Arbo

YOUR SOUL IS A RIVER: BOOK REVIEW

As humans, we like to rely on the world around us to describe our thoughts and feelings. Nikita Gill’s book Your Soul is a River does exactly that, grasping at her surroundings to describe the various feelings and emotions we experience as people. The book is split into multiple parts: “The Cosmos”, “The Storm”, “Ache”, and “Wild” are just to name a few. The title of each section alludes to what will be discussed in the following stanzas. Gill utilizes these headers as an introduction to the extended metaphors that allow her to critic the human condition.


From the start, Gill introduces many of her philosophies through the use of celestial imagery. She sets the tone for the rest of the book, opening with very intimate lines by drawing attention to the relationship between her and the reader. Using otherworldly terminology such as “stardust”, “nebula”, and “constellations”, the author is able to smoothly build from word-to-word, idea-to-idea. She is precise and concise in her comparisons and explanations. There is a clear intent to motivate and appreciate her readers based on the language she employs.


However, while the poet does a great job of building a connection with her readers, her writing is not necessarily the most original. I myself, when writing, tend to lean on celestial imagery as well, and so do many other poets. It is a typical subject to write about. The author does not speak about the various themes she introduces in any new or unusual way. And while there is not much uniqueness to her writing because of the imagery and themes she draws on, there is still extensive value to her writing. She continues to build on the relationship between the reader and the poet, drawing on the intimacy she began with. At the same time, when she chooses a theme, she sticks to it. Consistency is an important part of her work.


Gill continues to do what she does best; create personability with the audience. She proceeds to speak directly to us, even halfway through the book. In “Ache”, as the title alludes, the poet discusses pain and grief. Again, as she opens up the discussion, she beings with a very personal note: “when someone decides the way you grieve, it is time to let them go. Your tears weren’t designed with a stopclock in mind, you are allowed to drain the ocean of them if need be”. By breaking the fourth wall, Gill can effectively touch her readers and push them to critically examine their own lives, digging deeper into themselves. The poet does a wonderful job of keeping consistent and maintaining a conversational atmosphere with readers.


The final portion of the book “Heal” is an encouragement and reminder. It elicits hope and strength within Gill’s audience. Ideas from the first part of the book are echoed here as well. Hope and connection are emphasized. While the ideas Gill repeats throughout the book may not be new or original, they are important reminders and personal conversations for readers to reflect on.


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