My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This collection of poetry is one I have been awaiting for a very long time. I will disclaim here that I have a vested interest in the book – but that interest is a key part of the importance of this review.
I have loved Boomie’s poetry for the best part of ten years, having found her website while I was living in Bangladesh and making my first forays into the world of writing and editing. If it is possible to platonically fall in love with someone through their writings, then this is exactly what I did.
I was given the privilege of being allowed to see an early manuscript of Paper Heart some time ago and I was honoured that the author asked me for advice and help in content and layout. Had she not asked, I might well have begged. There was no way at all I was going to say no to getting my hands and eyes on this amazing collection.
Boomie’s words exude emotion in all its vast array of colours. Often her poems are deeply sensual and not for the eyes of the prudish. Her expression of passion and desire is something quite remarkable and you are left envying the man she calls her own. Sometimes they are profoundly caring, as when she writes about her beautiful daughters or her much-loved, much-missed father. Occasionally they swell with anger at injustice and the wrongs of this world – and the author has known these first hand too many times. But always they have an underlying spiritual nature based on the life-mix of faith, experience, trauma and survival. These poems are firmly rooted in the real world, yet transport you to another – sometimes as escapism, sometimes to heal you as she touches your own wounds.
Paper Heart is not the best of Boomie’s writing. That would be impossible. Firstly, how do you choose from her massive output (on social media she presents a new poem every single day, more or less)? Secondly, I already know there’s more of the same quality to come. It would be a travesty if she does not produce a second volume. But Paper Heart is a superlative collection of poetry straight from a heart which beats strongly, with passion and with pride. Yet Boomie Bol never bullies us. She’s no dominating ‘alpha woman’. She’s ridiculously humble, gentle and, in some senses, fragile. Her strength comes from opening the windows on this for us all to see and in saying “this is who I am, take it or leave it” with a determination to be who she is and never regret it. Such strength is inspiring.
Paper Heart does contain content which is not for younger eyes, nor for those for whom the Bible’s Song of Songs remains a closed book. For everyone else, it is a perfect gift for lovers of poetry, sensuality, emotional depth and stirring, challenging words. Almost all the poems are short and many are accompanied by beautiful illustrations. It’s a book which could be read in a few hours but is one which is better dipped into over weeks and months to let Boomie’s words stir within your own heart. After a decade of allowing them stir my own, I’m proud to have her collection on my shelf and I will undoubtedly make room beside for her next one. I simply can’t recommend this book enough and I will be buying several copies to send to friends over the coming weeks. Put this on your ‘Must Read’ list and get a copy.
Social Entrepreneur, educationalist, bestselling author and journalist, D K Powell is the author of the bestselling collection of literary short stories “The Old Man on the Beach“. His first book, ‘Sonali’ is a photo-memoir journal of life in Bangladesh and has been highly praised by the Bangladeshi diaspora worldwide. Students learning the Bengali language have also valued the English/Bengali translations on every page. Listen to his life story in interview with the BBC here.
D K Powell is available to speak at events (see his TEDx talk here) and can be contacted at email@example.com. Alternatively, he is available for one-to-one mentoring and runs a course on the psychology of writing.
Ken writes for a number of publications around the world. Past reviewer for Paste magazine, The Doughnut, E2D and United Airways, and currently reviews for Lancashire Life magazine and Northern Arts Review. His reviews have been read more than 2.2 million times.