Hello, readers of the Lemuria Blog. I have become known as “the poetry reader” by my coworkers, which I am proud of, as I do love reading and writing about poetry. For the last year and a half, I have loved being able to share different collections from new voices in the poetry world with my coworkers, and with all of you. Unfortunately, this is my last blog for the store, as I have decided to give my full attention to getting my master’s degree and to working as a teaching assistant at my university. So, naturally, I had to make my last blog one of a new collection of poetry, Bone, by one of the most powerful female voices I have read so far: Yrsa Daley-Ward.
Daley-Ward’s poems are raw and emotional, which, as anyone who I have ever talked to about reading poetry knows, is just how I like them. A sharp stab to the feelings, these poems are an outpouring of love and, often at the exact same time, hatred. They explore her complicated relationships with her mother, brother, father, and grandmother. They explore the effects of a staunchly religious upbringing on how she navigates romantic relationships. They explore different identities that often conflict. A few great ones discuss what many are afraid to talk about: mental health. Most importantly, though, the most powerful poems explore the way she coped with abuse and how she grew up thinking that was what love was supposed to be like, because that’s what she endured and what she watched her mother endure. And just to let you know this book isn’t all poems about abuse and mental illness and gloomy subjects, there are poems, toward the end of the collection, about working through the events of her childhood, about healing, and about learning how to love healthily.
My first reaction to this book is one of sadness. As a literature major and huge appreciator of the craft of writing poetry, my second reaction was one of awe (and just a tinge of jealousy). Daley-Ward deftly tells stories through verse that makes you feel for her, and, as I said in my last poetry blog on Cassie Pruyn, made me want to jump into the book and give her a hug, cry with her, and tell her everything would be okay. If you like poetry that is honest, poetry that tells a story without sugarcoating anything, you will like this collection.