• NZ Booklovers

Spring Clean by Sabreen Islam


Spring Clean is the new offering from singer-songwriter Sabreen Islam. An Auckland based writer, Sabreen is able to command the page with her lyrical poetry that captures the raw emotional state of adolescence. By her own admission the writing speaks of the teenage angst and pain that comes with navigating the world of dating and connection with others during this formative stage.


While some of the poems edge towards simplistic and common collocations with imagery, there is something quite unique about the expression that Islam has throughout. A lack of pretension so common in the inane ramblings in poetic form from this stage of life.


Her expressive nature comes through time and time again as she articulates hurt and hope with equal aspirational tone. Split into two sections (‘Winter’ and ‘Spring’), the collection oozes with control and reflection as she explores the inner workings of psyche and yearnings. She is clearly a young woman with a lot of hurt, and a lot of talent to bring to the surface.


While several of the poems are long, it is the ones that span just a couple of lines that really had the most impact


it’s been so long

since you asked me

‘how are you?’

and even longer

since i asked myself

(‘niceties’ by Sabreen Islam)


The poignancy of these vignettes into Islam’s life is really quite dynamic, brimming with those words that only make sense moments after they are laid bare on the page.


Nearly all of the poems are accompanied by Alice Waldow’s illustrations that capture - albeit in a different way - the expressions exuded through the poetry. They are a wonderfully rich illustration of this moment for Islam and add another dimension to the language.


The English teacher within enjoyed the appreciation note to Sabreen’s own teachers throughout her schooling years, and even managed to look past the use of the lower case ‘i’ throughout. This is a writer of real talent, and one gets the impression that she is just starting.


Reviewer: Chris Reed

Self-Published