3 Empowering Poetry Collections by Nikita Gill
Nikita Gill is the UK’s most followed poet. Whether she is caring for readers during the coronavirus crisis, speaking at TEDx Talks, or championing women’s rights, Nikita is a modern poet who has captivated readers with her candid and powerful feminist poetry. The strength and honesty of her voice have inspired over half a million followers on Instagram and a list of celebrities sharing her work, including the talented Alanis Morissette.
Nikita also writes articles that address a wide range of topics including mental health, relationships, self-care, domestic violence, and healing. She is honest and vulnerable in her work and that authenticity resonates with readers everywhere, especially women. Read below for reviews of three of her most well-known and celebrated books: Wild Embers, Great Goddesses, and Fierce Fairytales.
Wild Embers is Nikita’s feminist, empowering, and healing collection of self-love poetry. Nikita speaks to the reader and to versions of herself (both past and present) with the spirit of survival and a hopeful voice. Using cosmology and astronomy as metaphors for the birth and rebirth of the human spirit, Nikita convinces the reader of how special it is to just exist and be alive. She captures this exquisitely in the poem, “Miracle.”
It took 3.8 billion years
of triumphant evolution,
an unbelievable confluence
made by sheer will and influence
of this infinite universe
and all of the stars
to get you here.
I hope you never doubt again
that even when you are in pain,
that you are a miracle,
that every part of you is incredible.
Among the varied topics in Wild Embers, Nikita powerfully addresses trauma, depression, anger, feminism, romantic relationships, and mental health. She believes in reinventing herself no matter who tears her down and no matter how broken she or the reader may feel. A spiritual and optimistic book, Wild Embers is a stellar collection from a rising star of poetry.
They murmur, in the beginning of everything;
from the bones of Chaos, rose a girl
who built the universe, the stars,
the planets, all because she was looking
for a place to dance.
In Great Goddesses, Nikita crafts a collection of poems and prose that reimagines ancient Greek mythology for modern readers and audiences. She focuses on retelling the lives of Greek goddesses from their point-of-view. A well-researched endeavor, there are many characters in this book, and Nikita explores a wide range of goddesses. As described in her publisher’s press release, Nikita “tells the stories of the mothers, warriors, creators, survivors, and destroyers that shook the world.” Stories range “from the potent venom of Medusa and the transformative sorcery of Circe, to the rising up of Athena over Olympus.”
When she writes about Athena, she uplifts her as powerful: “She rises over Olympus / on a night of victory dancing, / she rises like the blood moon / in a sky of a thousand stars bursting.” When she writes about Hera, she depicts her childhood: “You were once just a girl who loved birds.” She then narrates her dysfunctional and traumatic marriage to Zeus and why she lost her way by punishing the women who were having affairs with her husband, imagining Hera atoning her mistakes by running an organization that shelters women suffering abuse. Nikita addresses these stories as inspiration for survivors to find their power again.
In “Zeus, After” Nikita connects Zeus’ story with current feminist movements. This prose poem depicts how the patriarchy has abided and paved the way for men in positions of power, but it also shows the downfall of Zeus and correlates his loss of power to many industry titans who have been brought down by the #MeToo movement, giving a voice to women who refuse to stay silent after experiencing sexual harassment or any kind of violence towards them.
Great Goddesses offers tales for readers who love Greek mythology and readers who want to learn about these stories from a feminist perspective. With the hand-drawn illustrations to accompany the stories, you are sure to gain ancient wisdom from these well-crafted poems.
Fierce Fairytales continues the themes explored in Wild Embers but also includes criticisms of the misogyny and sexist messages implicit in well-known fairytales and folklore: “Disney has influenced the lost values of young women with their stories so much, and no one’s talking about how toxic they are. Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Little Mermaid…all of those toxic tropes of men coming to save you. The point of a lot of my work is to address what culture has done to young women and young men and binary people, and to talk about it,” Nikita says in a 2018 interview.
In the stories and poems of Fierce Fairytales, Nikita subverts the stereotypes of submissive women. Little Red Riding Hood becomes an environmental leader of wolves instead of being eaten by one. Instead of letting a man use her body to come and rescue her, Rapunzel uses her braid to climb down her tower. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty wake themselves. These damsels in distress don’t need princes because they have the power to save themselves, and this is the prevalent message in Fierce Fairytales: finding your inner strength.
Included in the book are cosmological and mythological themes reminiscent of Nikita’s other books. In particular, the poem “For the Cynic” echoes “Miracle” from Wild Embers and holds space for the mystery of being alive. Here is the ending:
that magic does not exist,
that fairytales aren’t real,
that the way people
find each other
at just the right time
at just the right moment
isn’t the most powerful sorcery.
Nikita’s work is magical, enchanting, and empowering. That’s why we recommend her fantasy, mythology, and folklore books as some of our favorite poetry collections.