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(w)holehearted: a collection of poetry and prose

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(w)holehearted is a play on words to emphasize the idea of appearing whole and intact as a human being, but with fissures, scars, and brokenness peeking through from behind the tough exterior. it is the facade that many of us peruse our lives carrying, often neglecting our pain, our mental health, and most importantly, the way we are more prone to hurting others when we la (w)holehearted is a play on words to emphasize the idea of appearing whole and intact as a human being, but with fissures, scars, and brokenness peeking through from behind the tough exterior. it is the facade that many of us peruse our lives carrying, often neglecting our pain, our mental health, and most importantly, the way we are more prone to hurting others when we lack this self-awareness. (w)holehearted seeks to encompass as many stories as possible, touching on several topics, namely, spirituality, feminism, colorism, domestic violence, intersectionality, mental health and more. it aims to depict that anyone with the darkest past and pitfalls can still save themselves from drowning in the difficulties that not only plague our world, but also plague our hearts.


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(w)holehearted is a play on words to emphasize the idea of appearing whole and intact as a human being, but with fissures, scars, and brokenness peeking through from behind the tough exterior. it is the facade that many of us peruse our lives carrying, often neglecting our pain, our mental health, and most importantly, the way we are more prone to hurting others when we la (w)holehearted is a play on words to emphasize the idea of appearing whole and intact as a human being, but with fissures, scars, and brokenness peeking through from behind the tough exterior. it is the facade that many of us peruse our lives carrying, often neglecting our pain, our mental health, and most importantly, the way we are more prone to hurting others when we lack this self-awareness. (w)holehearted seeks to encompass as many stories as possible, touching on several topics, namely, spirituality, feminism, colorism, domestic violence, intersectionality, mental health and more. it aims to depict that anyone with the darkest past and pitfalls can still save themselves from drowning in the difficulties that not only plague our world, but also plague our hearts.

30 review for (w)holehearted: a collection of poetry and prose

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fatima Puri

    Though I read the book a while back, (w)holehearted remains a remedial friend I visit often. Bawany's poetry is personal enough to strike an emotional chord but still vague to allow the reader to step inside the pages and apply their personal stories of pain, growth, and healing. The poems range from a variety of topics, and while most are Islamic by nature, the book offers an abundance of goods that transcends religion, gender, sexuality, and age. Succinctly put, (w)holehearted is a book for eve Though I read the book a while back, (w)holehearted remains a remedial friend I visit often. Bawany's poetry is personal enough to strike an emotional chord but still vague to allow the reader to step inside the pages and apply their personal stories of pain, growth, and healing. The poems range from a variety of topics, and while most are Islamic by nature, the book offers an abundance of goods that transcends religion, gender, sexuality, and age. Succinctly put, (w)holehearted is a book for everyone, and readers are sure to find comfort in its words.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sana

    This book is so powerful with its words. Sara does an amazing job at evoking a wide range of emotions with her poetry. I also really enjoyed the element of storytelling within her poetry. I loved reading her book and would recommend it to anybody and everybody, especially for healing and deeper introspection.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Irum Ibrahim

    Sara Bawany’s book of poetry is by far one of the best I’ve ever read. Her poems tackle topics that are generally considered as taboo + have a stigma associated with them in many South Asian communities. Her words hit straight to the heart, get you thinking, and allow you to find harmony within yourself + your relationship with suppressed emotions. READ IT.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maheen

    I loved this book. So open and honest and raw. Sara does a beautiful job of touching subjects that we don’t always see and I really respect and appreciate that.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mi Ra

    I have been an admirer of Sara Bawany's poetry for years and to get to see her publish a collection of poetry inspires me as a woman and as an aspiring writer. Her words spoke to me directly, taking me from empowerment to nostalgia to bitterness to love. A collection that celebrates in complete harmony all the things the world taught us to hide, you do not just read a poem after the other you read a journey, a story, an emotional ride and at the end you come out better, at peace, healed and whol I have been an admirer of Sara Bawany's poetry for years and to get to see her publish a collection of poetry inspires me as a woman and as an aspiring writer. Her words spoke to me directly, taking me from empowerment to nostalgia to bitterness to love. A collection that celebrates in complete harmony all the things the world taught us to hide, you do not just read a poem after the other you read a journey, a story, an emotional ride and at the end you come out better, at peace, healed and wholehearted

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nasra

    Sara’s mastery of words left me speechless as I read through her work. I was in awe of how eloquently she spun her words together. More importantly, her experiences spoke to me as a second generation Muslim woman from an Indian background. It is so rare to find someone whose writing captures this (among so many other experiences) so well. My favorite piece was “an ode to the Muslim f*boy”. There are so many gems in this book to choose from, it was hard to pick just one!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Aiysha Alamgir

    Every English Teacher's Dream Come True! I would like to start off mentioning that I had the fortune of teaching Sara Bawany one year. I would also like to mention that I had the misfortune of teaching Sara Bawany for ONLY one year. That one year that I taught her, I saw a bright 7th grader with a vivacious smile, infectious laughter, rapier wit, and a voracious appetite for all things literary. That being said, I hate her for thrusting me into a whirlwind of emotions like a character living in t Every English Teacher's Dream Come True! I would like to start off mentioning that I had the fortune of teaching Sara Bawany one year. I would also like to mention that I had the misfortune of teaching Sara Bawany for ONLY one year. That one year that I taught her, I saw a bright 7th grader with a vivacious smile, infectious laughter, rapier wit, and a voracious appetite for all things literary. That being said, I hate her for thrusting me into a whirlwind of emotions like a character living in the Whedonverse or Shondaland. How could you play me like that, Sara B?! Each poem in (W)holeheartedl unfurls petal by petal into a tear-stained dandelion - defiantly standing upright in cracked pavement. She is Sara Bawany - hear her roar!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Parisa

    As someone unfamiliar with poetry, (w)holehearted blew me away. Every poem warranted self-reflection and allowed me to connect more deeply with the book as I flipped each page. The book shares a narrative that is also not very seen in mainstream literature and deserves all the more appreciation, love this book and love the author, can’t wait for Sara Bawany’s future work!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    Sara Bawany is such an inspirational person, so when she came out with a poetry book, I knew I had to read it. This book has so many gems in it. It covers a wide array of topics from her experience as a Muslim, POC woman that will make you smile, think and/or get emotional. I highly recommend this book!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laila

    This book was as beautiful as it was honest. The entire book was soul-baring and vulnerable in the most empowering way, and the style and length of each poem varied in an engaging way. Definitely worth the read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Iram Alam

    Sara’s work will move you, sway your feet and keep you grounded at the same time. I took my time with this poetry collection as every poem/prose left an impact. She talks about issues that require attention and my fav part was that she also addresses taboo topics. This is a masterpiece.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kainat Hamid

    Love this poetry book 😍. There is raw passion in here that stands out over other poetry books. I'm an avid reader, however had never been into poetry until I picked up this book. Each piece resonates with me in a way. Looking forward to more reads by Sara Bawany! Love this poetry book 😍. There is raw passion in here that stands out over other poetry books. I'm an avid reader, however had never been into poetry until I picked up this book. Each piece resonates with me in a way. Looking forward to more reads by Sara Bawany!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bushra Alammouri

    The author writes in a way that allows the reader to feel true with their emotions every page they turn. I like how genuine and relatable the book is. It is a very powerful and eloquently written book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Humza

    I had the pleasure to read this set of poems. The thing about writing in general is that anyone can really write if they put the time and energy into it. But there’s a clear distinction between something written with passion and something written with a condition of seeking fame/wealth/etc. When I read these poems, I could sense the passion. Sara crafted these poems with care and commitment. The words carried weight. Even if the poems concerned topics not necessarily applicable to you, you will I had the pleasure to read this set of poems. The thing about writing in general is that anyone can really write if they put the time and energy into it. But there’s a clear distinction between something written with passion and something written with a condition of seeking fame/wealth/etc. When I read these poems, I could sense the passion. Sara crafted these poems with care and commitment. The words carried weight. Even if the poems concerned topics not necessarily applicable to you, you will still feel the perspective of the people they do apply to. I recommend these poems to anyone who want to expand beyond their own perspective and feel the emotions of the people around them.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shaziya Barkat

    (w)holehearted touches upon many taboo topics in the community. From themes of love to abuse, the raw poetry moves readers. Would recommend grabbing a copy by the talented Sara Bawany.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aisha Bawany

    This is an amazing collection of poems. I’m not a huge poetry person, but this collection really spoke to me—as every good piece of literature should.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Samrah

    The book is really beautiful and will speak to young Muslim women. The writing is so clear and deep and it definitely resonates with the current generation of Muslim-Americans. She really gets and is able to express something many understand and experience but have trouble disclosing in words. The author is knowledgeable of the deeper struggles and feelings of many demographics- young american teens, the South Asian (especially Pakistani) experience, and especially the inner dialogue and hidden The book is really beautiful and will speak to young Muslim women. The writing is so clear and deep and it definitely resonates with the current generation of Muslim-Americans. She really gets and is able to express something many understand and experience but have trouble disclosing in words. The author is knowledgeable of the deeper struggles and feelings of many demographics- young american teens, the South Asian (especially Pakistani) experience, and especially the inner dialogue and hidden desires of young women. She makes expressing these feelings look so easy. I adored it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sakeenah

    Right off the bat, the concept of the cover and the title drew me in. I love the minimalist style and before even opening, I knew I would enjoy seeing this on my shelf. This is one of my favorite poetry books and one I often return to. There is something about Sara's writing that I relate to on such a raw level - especially because of our shared religion and South Asian background. But beyond that, her poetic voice is so strong, I truly believe it can move anyone. This is a very strong debut and Right off the bat, the concept of the cover and the title drew me in. I love the minimalist style and before even opening, I knew I would enjoy seeing this on my shelf. This is one of my favorite poetry books and one I often return to. There is something about Sara's writing that I relate to on such a raw level - especially because of our shared religion and South Asian background. But beyond that, her poetic voice is so strong, I truly believe it can move anyone. This is a very strong debut and I truly cannot wait for more of her work!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    This was beautiful. Man I felt that. Sara Bawany’s voice is real. She makes you feel what she feels even though you’ve never gone through it. Her pieces about nature, the masjid, going to therapy, and her self growth are precious. Her book inspired me to aspire to write a book too. 30 pages in a word doc in, I hope to one day move hearts with my words just as she does. Go add it to your bookshelf y’all!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nawal

    This poetry collection contains so many different powerful poems, each telling their own story. I love the variety of poems that this collection includes, ranging from topics of race to those of religion. Each poem explores a different story that has been untold until now, giving this book the ability to connect to every type of person. And, personally, this poetry collection has inspired me to start writing my own!!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ani

    This collection is truly incredible. I tend to connect well with words, and the writing in this is so raw, emotional, and beautiful. It has inspired me to start collecting my thoughts again into my poetry because words can be very powerful and healing. I would highly recommend this book for those who want something real, relatable, and thought-provoking. You won't regret reading it. This collection is truly incredible. I tend to connect well with words, and the writing in this is so raw, emotional, and beautiful. It has inspired me to start collecting my thoughts again into my poetry because words can be very powerful and healing. I would highly recommend this book for those who want something real, relatable, and thought-provoking. You won't regret reading it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tuscany Bernier

    Oh, my heart This collection has of heartfelt poetry really grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go long after the last page. I highly recommend it!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shandraya Rogers

    This book pulled at so many of my emotions. I cried, smiled and felt inspired all in one sitting. Sara so eloquently calls you to reflect on everything from familial relationships and friendships to love, faith and social justice issues. This is one of those books you read more than once.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katie L. Tyler

    This was quite moving. Each poem told a story of how it was to not be of the "superior" race and everything was beautifully written. I believe the author went above and beyond and I cannot wait to read more from her! I have this thing where I love authors who keep their writing style when they publish and do not change it to fit media's eye. It was very clear in these poems and for that, I absolutely loved it! This was quite moving. Each poem told a story of how it was to not be of the "superior" race and everything was beautifully written. I believe the author went above and beyond and I cannot wait to read more from her! I have this thing where I love authors who keep their writing style when they publish and do not change it to fit media's eye. It was very clear in these poems and for that, I absolutely loved it!

  25. 5 out of 5

    F.S. Yousaf

    In Sara Bawany’s debut poetry collection, she opens herself up to the world in a way that I haven’t read in any other poetry book. The sheer rawness of her words puts you into her shoes and experiences, and even tells a story. This book is fantastic, and well worth everyone picking up and reading!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amina Syed

    This book is a real inspiration, every time I sat to read a poem I would open a page and find so much richness in the words. Even if not every experience is exactly like your own this is a must-read because it captures the feelings of a moment too. I enjoyed the Islamic element as it felt all the more relatable and hopeful. Thank you for sharing your collection!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Subah

    I read Wholehearted for the 1st time a year and half ago. Since then, it has stayed with me and, at the same time, left me utterly unable to articulate how moving it was. The first thing I must say is that is it truly a beautiful piece of work. Sara Bawany has created a literary masterpiece that seems to perfectly describe the human condition and speak to the soul of every individual that reads it. It is in equal parts descriptive of specific circumstances and general enough to be relatable. It I read Wholehearted for the 1st time a year and half ago. Since then, it has stayed with me and, at the same time, left me utterly unable to articulate how moving it was. The first thing I must say is that is it truly a beautiful piece of work. Sara Bawany has created a literary masterpiece that seems to perfectly describe the human condition and speak to the soul of every individual that reads it. It is in equal parts descriptive of specific circumstances and general enough to be relatable. It covers a variety of topics related to being Muslim, a POC, a woman, and so many more things. No matter your background, you will find a connection in this book; it is truly that powerful and poignant. Wholehearted is an emotional ride. For me, it brought back memories of childhood as well as validated to some degree the struggles I am unable to articulate as an adult. It shared a point of view that is often missing from mainstream media. It is not a book that can only be read once; you will find yourself drawn back time and time again.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hira Sohail

    This book is a personal favorite of mine. It’s one of the few prose & poetry books that really pulled at my heart strings and forced me to feel. I can’t explain the wave of comfort you feel when you read (w)holehearted and recognize bits and pieces of yourself. Sara beautifully articulates emotions and the complexities of this life that so many of us often feel so alone in experiencing. To open yourself up and share your truth with the world as Sara did through (w)holehearted is no small feat; b This book is a personal favorite of mine. It’s one of the few prose & poetry books that really pulled at my heart strings and forced me to feel. I can’t explain the wave of comfort you feel when you read (w)holehearted and recognize bits and pieces of yourself. Sara beautifully articulates emotions and the complexities of this life that so many of us often feel so alone in experiencing. To open yourself up and share your truth with the world as Sara did through (w)holehearted is no small feat; but she did it impeccably. The impact of Sara Bawany’s words are truly astounding. Also, how incredible is the title and that book cover?! The title is so perfect for the contents of this book. It leaves me feeling that despite everything, perhaps I too can go back to living (w)holeheartedly.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Humna

    Purely riveting poetry. I’m not one who is big on poetry but this one definitely resonated with me. From delving into the depths of human emotion and exploring the complexities of human struggle, Bawany has managed to turn indescribable feelings into words. Often times we don’t describe feelings rather we detail in what situation we feel them such as “that feeling when you go to bed after a long day”; Bawany manages to translate them from a situation to the words having feeling themselves. As on Purely riveting poetry. I’m not one who is big on poetry but this one definitely resonated with me. From delving into the depths of human emotion and exploring the complexities of human struggle, Bawany has managed to turn indescribable feelings into words. Often times we don’t describe feelings rather we detail in what situation we feel them such as “that feeling when you go to bed after a long day”; Bawany manages to translate them from a situation to the words having feeling themselves. As one can imagine hearing texture, seeing sound, tasting colors, she has managed to implore readers to feel her words

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ayah Bany-Mohammed

    A beautiful poetry book written by a beautiful soul. I found this an enticing read and one of the best contemporary poetry books that I can relate to. I found that I re-read poems in this book that made me reflect on my own story and that of someone very dear to me...the challenges and growth that we and so many women have endured to make us who we are. Bawany is a model of resilience, and her poems inspire this and helps to cultivate fortitude and empathy in its readers. This is a lovely additi A beautiful poetry book written by a beautiful soul. I found this an enticing read and one of the best contemporary poetry books that I can relate to. I found that I re-read poems in this book that made me reflect on my own story and that of someone very dear to me...the challenges and growth that we and so many women have endured to make us who we are. Bawany is a model of resilience, and her poems inspire this and helps to cultivate fortitude and empathy in its readers. This is a lovely addition to one's bookshelf and a thoughtful gift to a special woman in one's life.

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