Excerpts From ‘When The World Doesn’t End’ by Caroline Kaufman

One of the things that we love on Instagram is the poetry on the platform. One of our favorites is @PoeticPoison. The girl is mad talented.

And she speaks to us on a level that we didn’t know we’d be touched by.

The writer, Caroline Kaufman, is back with her second book of poems, When the World Didn’t End.

In her second book of poetry, Instagram sensation Caroline Kaufman—known as @poeticpoison—explores the shock, wonder, and beauty of an uncertain future.

When the World Didn’t End is a vivid account of trying to find a path forward while reckoning with the pain of the past, embracing imperfection, and unlearning the language of self-criticism.

It’s an ode to the awkward silence between goodbye and hanging up, to hearts that continue to beat after they’re broken, to the empty spaces that depression leaves behind. With vulnerability and insight, this powerful collection of short poems holds up a mirror to the doubt and longing inside us all.

This hardcover collection features completely new material plus some fan favorites from Caroline’s account. Filled with haunting, spare pieces of original art, When the World Didn’t End will thrill existing fans and newcomers alike.

Read some excerpts below –


why do I keep pretending
this will work?
why do I turn a blind eye
to all of your faults
and convince myself
that you are perfect?

I cut you open
and you are rotten to the core.
I beg to take a bite anyway.

this is what love is like,
I tell myself,
sour and overripe and beautiful.
I am lucky to get a taste at all.

you are not as sweet
as you are in my dreams,
but let me blame it on my taste buds
like I always do.

I want to believe you are perfect
for just a little while longer.

in the beginning,
god created the heaven
and the earth—
and the poets,
to bring the first two together.

we woke up in our own edens.
pulled out our ribs,
whittled them down into pens.
and when we finally came across
the tree of knowledge,
we did not eat from it timidly—
we grabbed in handfuls.

the promise of suffering
only made our stomachs growl louder.

how could you want
to understand pain?
god asked.

how could you not want
to understand poetry?
we replied.



there are parts of myself
I had to get rid of
to get here.

I used to think growing
was simply evolving,
but there is also shedding.
there is also loss.

there are people who hurt me
and shaped me
and found their way
into my cells.
in order to move on,
I had to scrub them away.

the sick cells had to be destroyed.
the damaged pieces of me had to be removed.

and sometimes I’ve found
that loss
can be a synonym
for growth.

raspberries, metaphors, love, etc.

I let the raspberries you gave
me rot in the fridge,
and if I were a better person I wouldn’t
turn this into a metaphor,
but it is one.
I watched all our sweet
turn to tart
turn to decay,
and now I have to get rid of you.

I let the raspberries you gave
me rot in the fridge,
but still, I do not throw them out.
I compost them.
because I am young and naive
and still have hope.
I still have hope that even after
all of this rotting,

we can continue to grow.
we can become something new.

and I know it wouldn’t be pink-stained
and fresh and sweet and bursting.
I know it would be dark
and recycled and messy

and always kept outside of the house.
but at least it would be there.
at least it would be alive.

I don’t know how,
but I’m here.

I don’t know how,
but I’m happy.

I don’t know how,
but I will make this
a life worth living.

Get your copy here.


Excerpted with permission from WHEN THE WORLD DIDN’T END: Poems by Caroline Kaufman. © 2019 by Caroline Kaufman. HarperCollins.

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