All Along You Were Blooming is a collection of Morgan Harper Nichols' Instagram poetry, without the color | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

All Along You Were Blooming is a collection of Morgan Harper Nichols' Instagram poetry, without the color

click to enlarge All Along You Were Blooming - CP PHOTO: JORDAN SNOWDEN
CP Photo: Jordan Snowden
All Along You Were Blooming
Since the emergence of R.M. Drake, an Instagram poet-turned-best selling author who popularized posting snippets of work on social media, there has been an influx of writers who build a following online before segueing into print media. Morgan Harper Nichols is the latest poet to join the ranks with her collection of poetry, All Along You Were Blooming.

Harper Nichols creates poems in response to submitted personal accounts from her followers and friends.

Her writing falls under the inspirational and religious genre, and is an act of service for those with weary hearts and broken worlds who could use some vulnerable reflections and kind words to brighten a dull day or assist in changing a negative outlook.


At just over a million followers, Harper Nichols' Instagram feed (@morganharpernichols) bursts with vibrant splashes of color and handwritten text. "You can still know peace without knowing what comes next" reads one post with small black words over pink, blue, yellow, and red swatches of paint. Another, written over a yellow flower, says "One day you're going to wake up and realize that some things just don't bother you the way they used to." Each post serves as an inspiration to uplift the spirits and add a little life, love, and vibrancy to her followers' timelines.

I was hoping to get the joyful, bubbly feeling I got scrolling through 
Harper Nichols' Instagram page when reading All Along You Were Blooming, but, reading her book was like going from a 3D to 2D experience. Her beautiful, almost lyrical prose was still there, along with her organic imagery, but it's devoid of the eye-catching colors. The copy of All Along You Were Blooming I read was printed in black and white, and without color, much of the emotion is lost. And with the greyscale print, some of the handwritten white text was hard to read.

While the words should be the focus on poetry,
All Along You Were Blooming will undoubtedly be compared to Harper Nichols' Instagram, where the poetry and fanbase originated. The words, the art, and the colors are part of an entire package, and when stripped away, the rest feels lackluster.

Harper Nichols' writing is phenomenal and universal. She evokes feelings and strings together words that are boundless and uplifting, no matter a person's situation. But it was hard for me to go from a thoughtfully created, vividly colorful vision to a work of black and white.

All Along You Were Blooming came out Jan. 21 via Zondervan.

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