As someone who has an intense love of poetry, I am always looking forward to discovering new poets and their works. And very recently, I discovered Heavy is the Head by Sumyaya Enyegue, and I was absolutely entranced by how emotionally beautiful her works are.
A collection of heartwrenching poems, Heavy Is The Head by Sumaya Enyegue is an unforgettable debut that reminds you of what it means to be truly vulnerable.
One thing I want to mention first before I dive deeper into the review, Sumaya Enyegue does not hold back. Most of the poems in Heavy Is The Head focus on sexaul assault, PTSD and violence against BIPOC, and the pain and trauma are extremely vivid. You could literally feel the pain of the author with every verse and line in her poems, and although her experiences were definitely unique to those in her community, she somehow manages to make each of the poems extremely relatable, no matter where you come from
Table of Contents
~ Synopsis: Heavy Is The Head by Sumaya Enyegue~
“Where does all the grief go when it’s not tugging at your wrist?” Enyegue’s debut collection is an ode to girlhood, to Blackness, to generational trauma, sexual assault, and mental health.
This collection does not aim to heal anyone who reads it, but instead help them confront their own healing.
Rather than sugar-coated bullets that enter you lightly, these poems are designed to hurt.
They are for the girls with difficult names, the boys with softness at their core, and the people with neither.
They are meant for the people who are Black, and the people who are not—because we are all tethered together by the heaviness of the human experience.
Trigger Warnings: Death, violence, suicidal thoughts, abuse, PTSD, sexual assault, misogyny, racism
~ Book Review: Heavy Is The Head by Sumaya Enyegue ~
The very first poem from Heavy Is The Head, appropriately titled Girlhood, is a great introduction to the kind of poems you are going to find in the rest of the book. With verses like “when you can’t afford the luxury of childhood, your innocence is an afterthought” Sumaya Enyegue hits the nail on the head on how women have always had to grow up and mature faster than men.
The goal is for us to grow up, right?
Boys morph into men and girls into
Gaping wounds.Heavy Is The Head by Sumaya Enyegue
Another favorite poem from Heavy Is The Head would be Rearranging My Traumas. This is probably one of the cleverest poems in the book, where the author uses anagrams of words and relates them to her experiences of pain and trauma.
The anagram of rape is reap/that which he did not sow/the body is the temple/he came to absolve himself of sinHeavy Is The Head by Sumaya Enyegue
And last but not the least, the poem Is It Still Seasonal Depression If It Happens All Year Round is the one that had the most profound effect on me. This poem perfectly captures the pain of people who struggle with mental health but ends with a beautifully positive affirmation that makes you feel hopeful for better days ahead.
It’s finally spring. This time, there will be flowers, yet not a funeral in sight. This time, death is afraid of me.Heavy Is The Head by Sumaya Enyegue
There are tons of other beautifully written poems in this book, each in focusing on a different theme and topic, but all of them perfectly encapsulate the pain and trauma of being a BIPOC woman, of being a victim of violence, of losing your loved ones and bearing the burden of being a survivor. Each poem is staggeringly powerful in their delivery, and you’ll need to have very cold, icy heart to not feel moved by them.
But all of that being said, I do believe that at times the poems did become a little repetitive. This had nothing to do with the subject nature of each poem; rather, it had to do with the overuse of certain metaphors, which I thought could have been written a bit differently, or perhaps used in a different collection even.
All things considered, if you are a fan of modern poetry, Heavy Is The Head by Sumaya Enyegue is definitely a must-read. Do take note of the trigger warnings, because this book will surely make you take a long hard look at your own wounds, but know that by the time you are done, you will feel that you are not alone in your pain.
~ Meet The Author: Sumaya Enyegue ~
Sumaya Enyegue is poet from Cape Town, South Africa trying to navigate her early twenties while simultaneously juggling med-school and spilling her feelings all over social media. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, frantically trying to find her stethoscope, or pretending she’s a functioning adult. Her favourite things include the colour green, British panel shows, her family, her friends and Captain Raymond Holt from B99.
I received a free Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Receiving a free copy does not affect my opinions of the book in any way, neither do I receive monetary compensation for writing a review. Thank you so much to Sumaya Enyegue, Central Avenue Publishing and NetGalley for giving me a free copy of this book. <3
~ More Books Similar To Heavy Is The Head by Sumaya Enyegue ~
If you enjoyed Heavy Is The Head by Sumaya Enyegue, consider checking out We Were All Someone Else Yesterday by Omar Holmon, a heart-wrenching, emotional poetry book about grief, love, identity and healing.