I Would Read This for the First Time Again If I Could


Carter Soyer, Staff

“I Would Leave Me If I Could: A Collection of Poetry” by Halsey

If you have been browsing on Amazon for gifts this holiday season, then you may have noticed a book titled “I Would Leave Me If I Could” on the “gift picks for everyone on your list” book list this year. This is a poetry book written by Halsey. She was preparing to set out on tour in early 2020, but like many others, she was blindsided by the quarantine that hit us all. Despite the troubles, she still found herself dreaming and crafting creations within her home. One of the works to come out of that creative imprisonment was a poetry book released on Nov. 10, 2020.

Halsey is the stage name for 28-year-old artist Ashley Frangipane. She was born in Edison, New Jersey, on Sept. 29, according to IMDb. While Halsey is mainly known for her music, she is what many would call a jack of many trades. She can sing, write, act, paint, and draw. This is why I personally am drawn to her so much because she is not just a musician, she is a creator.  

In an interview with Vogue, Halsey talked about why she released this poetry book.

Honestly, there’s two reasons. The first is because I had it. The second reason is because I reached a point in my career where I don’t want there to be any sort of debate on whether or not I write. A lot of people just generally assume I don’t write my own music, even though I’ve said till I’m blue in the face that I do,” said Halsey. “There’s stuff you can say in a book that you can’t say in an album. When I sing, the writing is tainted by whatever I look like at that time, whoever people think I’m dating at that time, and whatever they’ve read about me in the press most recently. They build a composite of who they think I am, and then that’s how they interpret the work. But a book is faceless,” she added.  

I received “I Would Leave Me If I Could” as a gift during last year’s holiday season. I wanted this book for two reasons. One, because I’m a fan of Halsey. Two, because I’m a published poet myself, and I know how accomplishing it must feel to have a collection of your own work published and how exciting it is to finally share it with others and see how they interact with it. Also, I’m proud of her because I know how scary it is to open yourself up with poetry. Poetry comes from a very vulnerable part of yourself. It’s like you offer a piece of your soul to someone and then have no control over what they do with it. They may love it and treat it with care, or they may stomp on it and rub it into the dirt.  

I instantly became addicted when I got the book. I read the book the same day I got it. The vulnerability vibrated off the pages and into my mind as I couldn’t put the book down. I loved this book; it provided great insight into some of her most inner personal thoughts and experiences, such as her mental health, love life, past trauma, and fears. Furthermore, it exemplifies how powerful she is by opening herself up. 

Something I noticed while reading the book is how some of the poem lines were the same as lyrics in her songs. It was very fascinating to see how these lines were transformed from poem to song which gave some knowledge about her songwriting process. Some of my favorite poems from the book that I’m going to highlight are “I Want to be a Writer” and “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”. 

“I Want to be a Writer” really appealed to me because, as I mentioned earlier, I too self-identify as a writer. This poem really captured the redundancy a writer faces. Writers are always thinking about and judging the world around them. This causes them to build up these thoughts and ideas in their head and they want it all to escape so they try to write, but they can’t. The poem perfectly captures this moment of realization where a writer sees that all they must do is write, but they know they can’t write because they must let the emotions boil over and spill out onto the page in order for their work to be its best rather than force the words out.  

“With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” is one of my favorites because although it is short, it carries a lot of power. In this poem, Halsey really opens up about what it’s like to have to live for others. While this concept is relevant to her because she has tons of adoring fans, it is also relatable to many others as well. It applies to people who want to give up and just quit, but they can’t because if they do, then the consequences will be larger than themselves, and they won’t be the only ones to suffer from their self-suffrage, which just makes the weight of it all double.  

Those two poems are just a few of many remarkable works found within the pages of “I Would Leave Me If I Could”. This book is a journey through Halsey’s life, but it also feels like a journey through your own melancholy thoughts. I would recommend this book to any poetry lover or someone who is simply trying to cure their boredom. All I have left to say is that I would read this for the first time again if I could.