Light Filters In: Poems – Caroline Kaufman

Illustrations – Yelena Bryksenkova

Caroline Kaufman is probably better known (so far) by her Instagram profile @poeticpoison. Published while still a teenager, this book is a mixture of dark and light, heartache and hope. Poetry can be very hit and miss for me and I found that to be the case with this collection as well. I connected with some of her words so deeply that I could have written them myself when I was Caroline’s age.

I’ve spent so much time trying to become who I should be that I lost myself along the way.

Others I struggled with but that’s probably more indicative of my stony cold heart than Caroline’s writing ability. When I read about relationships and heartache it’s akin to a vampire feeling the warmth of sunlight on their skin.

This book is divided into four sections: the darkness falls, the night persists, the dawn breaks, and the sun rises. What I loved above all else is the honesty of these poems.

sometimes I imagine my younger self and I worry she wouldn’t recognize me.

Once upon a nitpick: One of my pet peeves is sentences that don’t begin with a capital letter. It bugs me whenever I see it and for some reason that baffles me it seems to be a cool thing to do these days. Some poems in this book include my beloved capital letters; others don’t.

This collection reminded me of the tumultuous experience of adolescence, a place I don’t like to visit. There’s a rawness to the writing that I really appreciated although overall I don’t feel as though I’m the target audience. I probably would have been when I was a teenager but a lot of the writing felt very young (and rightly so as the author is only 18). I hope that Caroline continues to write from her heart as the authenticity of her voice has the potential to impact a lot of young lives.

Content warnings are quoted below:

I talk about mental illness, self-harm, suicide, recovery, sexual assault, abusive relationships, violence, and other issues that may not be the easiest to swallow.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

In Light Filters In, Caroline Kaufman – known as @poeticpoison – does what she does best: reflects our own experiences back at us and makes us feel less alone, one exquisite and insightful piece at a time. She writes about giving up too much of yourself to someone else, not fitting in, endlessly Googling “how to be happy,” and ultimately figuring out who you are.

This hardcover collection features completely new material plus some fan favourites from Caroline’s account. Filled with haunting, spare pieces of original art, Light Filters In will thrill existing fans and newcomers alike.

it’s okay if some things

are always out of reach.

if you could carry all the stars

in the palm of your hand,

they wouldn’t be

half as breathtaking

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