Leav, both a novelist and a poet, was born in a refugee camp in Thailand whilst fleeing from difficult times during the Khmer Rouge regime when a mass genocide was carried out in Cambodia. She did, however, grow up in Sydney, Australia, which is where she learnt how to write as beautifully as she does. Her first book Love & Misadventure (2013) was a successful sellout and the following works continued to top the charts in bookstores worldwide. She has created a new page in poetry and paved the way for contemporary poets.
Sea of Strangers, much like Leav’s previous works, navigates its way around the human heart, touching upon topics of life, love, and loss. It further explores themes of empowerment and selfdiscovery. It is a compilation of poetry and a little bit of prose that is printed on every other page, leaving readers to concentrate on and absorb the content of each piece of work. Just as there are pros and cons to every book, Sea of Strangers has them too.
What draws people into Leav’s writing is mostly her distinct writing style. The way she plays with words and rhythm makes her writing a wonderful blend of classical and contemporary poetry. Sea of Strangers is no exception to this writing style and this familiar writing style is what makes this poetry comforting to avid Leav fans, all the while being refreshing and approachable to new readers. “I will celebrate this life of mine, with or without you. The moon does not need the sun to tell her she is already whole,” writes Leav in Sea of Strangers. Lengthy sentences are not the only things that fill the empty spaces of the book. As short as this text is, it fills the readers with warmth and pulls on the heartstrings of many.
Some may say that this particular collection has nothing new going for it compared to Leav’s previous collections of poetry. Most modern poetry does deal with the same repetitive topics of love, loss, and healing. This would definitely paint Leav’s recent release as less appealing and even childish after a while. For some, this kind of easy-read poetry may not be their cup of tea. It is, however, worth a read as a nice introduction to those unfamiliar to contemporary poetry because of its readability.
Reading Sea of Stangers will feel a lot like hearing words of wisdom from a close friend. Leav will show you how powerful a few words and sentences can be. Whether one has read Leav’s poetry before or not, her latest collection is definitely worth a read for an impactful introduction to contemporary poetry. Despite the childish nature of the topics dealt with, Leav’s words are bound to linger in the readers’ thoughts long after they have read the book because sometimes people need a little pure emotion written out for them in their lives