The First Free Women by Matty Weingast

This translated collection proves to me that poetry is the universal language. I fully expected these poems to feel distant, to be dry and esoteric, or perhaps quirky with their Buddhist lens and historical distance, but instead I found myself in tears.

The truths in this work struck me hard. Weingast managed to preserve the piercing clarity of these nuns despite the poems being over 2000 years old. I felt seen. I felt as if each one of these poems were a tender hand reaching forward from the past to guide me through shadow-work and the anxieties of the modern world.

In an age of IG poets, this book is immensely quotable.

“How could this world possibly give you what you’re looking for when it’s so busy falling apart – just like you?”

I kept bookmarking phrases and stanzas to return to later. Despite receiving this e-book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, I will be buying a paper copy to carry with me and write in. Each poem is its own journal prompt and meditative focus. I loved it, and only wish it had been longer.

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