Poetic Self-Love

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Illustration by Alyssa Long

Janice Luong

Staff Writer

Rupi Kaur – “The Sun and Her Flowers”

The poem and Kaur’s hand-drawn graphic blend beautifully together to create a soothing and warm tone. It is a comfort poem, in which readers are able to relate and connect to it in different ways. For me, it is not so much about love for others, but self-love. As a second-generation Asian American, loving myself was not easy. Conforming too much to either identity made it difficult to connect and be recognized as the other. Without a comfort zone or a sense of belonging, loving myself was difficult. However, as I got older, I ditched conformity and became a sturdy base for myself. I always come back to this poem because it reminds me to love my roots and myself, and I don’t have to choose one or the other. Just love.

Jaiya John – “Daughter Drink This Water”

Jaiya John has always been a favorite of mine. His writing alone is impactful and loving. The romantic element in this poem is that it’s not just about self-love, it’s also about how to love others. You are who you should lose yourself to and not anyone else. This acts like a little reminder for me to indulge in myself and through that act, I can love someone else. 

Christopher Poindexter

There is something about this piece that is almost daydream-like. It’s a beautiful love poem that can make anyone swoon. Maybe this is just me, but this poem puts into words the kind of love I want. What I love about this poem in particular is the last line, because it makes me appreciate the different kinds of love out there through different people on Earth. This poem makes it sound like it’s just the speaker and you, so there is also this level of intimacy that is familiar to any reader. 

Rupi Kaur – “Milk and Honey”

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Self-empowerment is something we all struggle with until we reach that point in our lives where we finally achieve it. Kaur does not scream love in this poem, but rather gives love a confident tone. It’s about loving and being content with oneself in order to create fiery passion with another person. A strong love. This pulls on my heartstrings in the oddest of ways because it’s not a superficially positive interpretation of love, but a wise reminder of what makes love strong. 

Nazim Hikmet – “Things I Didn’t Know I Loved”

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Hikmet romanticizes nature, a different take from the usual focus of loving another person. I want to include this poem to remind you that love during Valentine’s day doesn’t have to be for couples only! It’s also for those who love ideas, knowledge, nature, etc. Love comes in all forms. We are so fixated on the concept of “sad singles” during Valentine’s Day or “feeling single,” but that does not have to be a negative thing. This poem is worth coming back to because how I interpret Hikmet is that love is not just multidimensional, it is also a potentially new path that “I never knew I liked.” 

Veronica A. Shoffstall

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The assertiveness of this poem draws the reader in. It is essentially saying, flourish, succeed, and grow instead of waiting and settling for someone. It’s a reminder that you don’t have to settle and to put yourself first above all else. You are in control, and sometimes, that is something we feel is missing in a relationship. With love, we often deal with uncertainties and insecurity. It’s uplifting to read this little poem and think of yourself as a sturdy flower