UW Alumnus Releases Debut Poetry Book: But Are You Really Sorry?

Aniqah Beharry, University of Waterloo alumnus and self-published author,  is blazing her own trail after the release of her debut book, But Are You Really Sorry?. This poetry/journal chapbook is merged with introspective questions and is ideal for voracious readers who seek both emotional healing and poetry. The work encourages its readers to take a step back from their busy lives and look at the world from a new perspective. 

“The book is rooted in experiences I had in Waterloo. I started writing this book when I was there. [In particular] I was heavily inspired by the Peace and Conflict Studies courses I took at UWaterloo,” Beharry said. 

Beharry is a Muslim author and artist from and based in Trinidad and Tobago. As an artist she uses drawing and writing as a way to decompress. Beharry’s goal as a writer is to use her words as a remedy to heal.  She is currently touring around the islands with her book.   

 Reminiscent of books like Wreck this Journal and Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, no two copies of But Are You Really Sorry? are the same. While many view healing in black and white, Beharry encourages her readers to see a wider view of healing and write or draw in any of the whitespace and drawings to fully engage with the book. For writers, this book gives all the free-reign required for those nights where ideas just need to be written down. For those who are drawn towards visual mediums, the freedom to draw wherever can help folks engage with the writing.

“I really wanted the book to be personalized. I wanted your copy to be yours. I try not to call it ‘my’ book. I want you to work through whatever you’re working through. That’s why at the end of every poem I ask a question and end off with a closing remark,” Beharry said. 

Her debut collection reminds its readers that apologies and regrets are there to learn from. It is a work meant for constant re-reading and reflection for those who are looking to change themselves.

As a Mathematics major, Beharry was no stranger to variables. She took a Peace and Conflict Studies course out of interest. This sparked her fascination with emotional healing through written communication. Foundationally she was always interested in the written word; being influenced by romantic comedies, tragedies and creepypastas online. 

Not satisfied with being a mathematician and creative, Beharry is also a national archer for the country of Trinidad. However the truly outstanding accomplishment of hers is her ability to embrace hardships as they come and grow from them.

“When you are placed in a situation where you don’t know what to say, how can you work through it?” said Beharry. 

Both Beharry’s digital art and writing are vibrant with personality. Her identity as a Muslim woman of colour from Trinidad is showcased throughout her work. Vibrant colours meet soft lines in her assortment of self-portraits which capture a variety of emotions. As a poet, she chooses each word with care.

But are you Really Sorry? reinforces the notion that everyone is able to change and also takes a nuanced view into the journey of emotional healing. 

“I think accountability is something that we have to work on every day. And it was something I started to think more about while I was in school. Just because people can change, it does not erase all the things that they did. I think the biggest thing that I want to say is that I people go into the book with an open mind and an open heart,” Beharry said.