My Grief the Sun
House of Anansi Press Inc, 2022
Review by Kim Fahner
“Today I drew a heart between my left middle and index finger./ I drew a star between the middle and the ring and then I remembered// I have a vein in that finger that goes directly to my heart.”
My Grief, the Sun is Sanna Wani’s debut collection of poems. Open the book in your lap and find it filled with light, even though it is a philosophical and meditative contemplation of how grief works. In “Relief,” Wani ponders the human perception of the divine. She writes: “How does God sit? What are His bones made of? Does he glow?”, and then admits that humankind has long sought out the essence of God, searching in a wide variety of places.
In this sequence of poems, Wani imagines an elderly God standing “at the edge of a still lake, singing a beloved song.” Soon enough, the essence of God morphs into a raven, and then transforms itself into the song itself that is being sung. The poet’s work is full of many questions that may not have answers, and a consideration of how faith works, too, in a person’s day-to-day life.
The themes of loneliness and grief weave themselves through the collection . In “Your Departure, A Loneliness,” Wani writes of seeing her parents off on a long-haul flight, returning home in the car while listening to Joni Mitchell, overwhelmed: “I park and I sit, for/ twenty minutes—finally crying—thinking about what it means to be/ alone, alone—feel- ing like a fool.”
Wani suggests that creativity is something divine and mystical, a light in darkness: “Oh, light, what are you doing here? How did you get inside this poem?” Wani tells her reader that “letters are made of light” and that if you believe “God is luminous,” then it will be so.
In My Grief, the Sun, Sanna Wani unlocks a door for her readers, invites them to be open-hearted—to be vulnerable and curious—meditating on the ways in which love, longing, grief, distance, and faith can live together inside a person’s body and soul.