Sabrina Benaim went viral for her poem about depression — but she wants you to know she's also funny
The Canadian poet's new audio-exclusive collection of poems and stories is called Chaotic Good
Sabrina Benaim is one of the most-viewed poets on the internet.
Nine years ago, she got onstage at a poetry slam and gave a performance that would change her life. The poem was called Explaining My Depression to My Mother and the video of Benaim performing it now has more than 10 million views.
Since then, the Canadian poet has written two hit books and gone on a world tour, talking to fans everywhere about her mental health. She also spoke about the discovery of a tumour in her throat and how that experience led her to find her poetic voice.
But Benaim wants to be known for being more than "that depression girl" (as she was once called by a fan at a poetry slam). Her new audio-exclusive poetry collection, Chaotic Good, is about leaning into the more joyous parts of her life.
"As I started doing shows and touring my poems, people would say, 'Oh, I came because of the mental health stuff, the depression stuff, but I didn't realize I was going to laugh so much,'" she said in an interview on Q with Tom Power. "In between the poems, you have to talk to the audience, you have to tell them stories, have banter — and I got to kind of expose my personality, which you don't see in a three-minute video of me having a panic attack. You're not like, 'Oh, she might be funny!'
"I kept getting met with that response from the audience. Like, 'I didn't realize you were going to be funny!' And it kind of made me realize, like, 'Oh, there's only one specific part of me in public on the internet.' You know, if you follow me, you might get a little bit more insight into that. But yeah, I wanted my work to reflect the whole of me and not just a part of me."
Find Benaim's new poetry collection, Chaotic Good, on Audible, Kobo, Google Play or wherever you get your audiobooks.
Below, watch Benaim perform an abridged portion of her poem I'm not going to lie to you in the Q studio.
WATCH | Sabrina Benaim performing in the Q studio:
I have been alone for a long time now
And since I gave my word I won't lie —
All I do is crawl my bones home.
All I do is flip the record.
All I do is think about things that are true:
Overcast with a chance of sun.
A cloud of loud tangerine.
They don't put gargoyles on buildings anymore.
There are at least forty-five thousand species of spider.
Nobody knows what I do when I'm all by myself.
Everybody knows somebody who is in love.
You are the somebody I know who is in love.
You are the love of someone else's life.
I'm sorry I ate all the candy that night.
I'm sorry I'll never see you again.
The full interview with Sabrina Benaim is available on our podcast, Q with Tom Power. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
Interview with Sabrina Benaim produced by Vanessa Greco.