Kingston University student’s debut poetry book tops Amazon charts

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A Kingston fine art student topped the Amazon poetry section after releasing her debut poetry collection for pre-order.

Third-year Kingston University student Jasmine Higgins’ self-published book A Woman is A Shapeshifter was number one under poetry ‘new releases’ as well as ‘women’s poetry’ for three days when she announced its release in October.

The 22-year-old author said it felt unbelievable to see her name beside her favourite poets. Higgins said: “It was crazy. It didn’t feel real because I was next to people like Rupi Kaur who’s sold more poetry books than anyone this century and I’m just chilling out next to her.”

The collection of 62 poems, published on November 18, mainly focuses on modern relationships, specifically online dating, as well as sex and death.

The author uses writing as a positive outlet for her own experiences but said that sometimes the poems are not supposed to be about her if it prevents her from writing something better.

Higgins, who has built up a large community on her Instagram account that is dedicated to sharing her poetry, said: “I get a lot of people that say ‘you wouldn’t normally get someone talking about Tinder in a poem’ and I’m like ‘well, that’s my life’.”

Since starting to write poems five years ago, the KU student said that her poetry has become more mature and honest, which is what she thinks her audience relates to.

“People like my work because they can relate to it. I think it’s important that they can also find positive messages in that and it’s not just ‘oh she’s miserable, I relate to that’,” Higgins said.

The author, who has considered doing creative writing as a postgraduate degree, said that her writing style is also accessible to people who do not usually read poetry.

Higgins often abandons grammatical rules in her poems and described her writing style as “all over the place” and said that sometimes it feels more natural for it to be “messy”.

The title of her debut poetry collection ‘A Woman is A Shapeshifter’, is a line in one of her poems, which the author believes is relevant to many of the other poems in the book.

“It addresses how women often feel the need to change themselves for people and be a certain way because society tells them to, but it’s also empowering in a way because I can be whoever I want,” Higgins said.

Talking about her decision to self-publish, Higgins said that it was the perfect way to combine her degree with her love for poetry, although it means added responsibility.

“I’ve had people read it but it’s not the same as going through a traditional publisher and having other people fixing it and making sure it’s okay. It’s all me, but I quite like that.

“I like the ownership of it, and as a fine art student I’m a very visual person and I didn’t want anyone else to be able to choose the title or the cover. I know how it’s supposed to look and so I think it was really important for me to self-publish and to have that control.”

A Woman Is A Shapeshifter is available to order on Amazon now.

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