Honeybee – book review

Honeybee by Trista Mateer is a WLM poetry collection that briefly goes over the lovesick feelings in a relationship, before moving through the confessional poetry of life during and after a breakup. 

I’ve read one of Trista’s works before, The Dogs I Have Kissed, and really enjoyed the language in it, so I was excited to be able to read another one of her collections. Honeybee did not disappoint me, entirely.

Starting with what I loved most with the book:

The way the collection told a story, it’s flow, was all wonderfully put together. Usually in collections, you have the same theme and moments so you know that they all belong together, but with this one, it just felt different? There was a separate story being told, seen especially through the countdown poems, that kept me wanting to read more, itching for the ending. 

And when I got to that ending, I cried. Just a little while reading the last few pages, but I found a work of poetry that did, indeed, make me shed a couple tears. For me, I don’t think I’ve ever read a collection that made me so emotional, so to be that author with a book that did, should be an honor, as I cry very easily!

A few other things I really liked were certain formats of poems, like the poem on page 35, that took on the form of a Google search history. It’s unique and fun and I feel it really added to the collection in some vulnerable and innocent way?

There were also lots of poems on homophobia, rightly so, as it is a WLW collection and I found the ones on bisexuality to be very hard hitting and could only say one word in response: Preach. Those kinds of truth poems will probably remain my favorite, the deeply personal, the raw and vulnerable, the poems that you want to turn away from but just can’t. 

Moving to the cons, I didn’t have many, but I am still torn between my rating for this collection.

I wanted to give this book four out of five stars, and in the end, I probably will still, but I want to go over the reasons why I second guessed myself.

When I first read the collection, I was in awe, I loved it so much and couldn’t get enough of it. But upon the second, more in depth reading, I didn’t feel the same way, I felt more dissatisfied and confused as to why I loved it unconditionally the first read around. My answer was leaning towards the lack of some poetic languages and description.

Many pieces felt told rather than shown and made the poem feel lesser, more forgettable, and not as enjoyable. Mateer has lots of potential, and I know that because their other collections were also stunning, so to read some poems in this book did disappoint me a bit. 

The last thought, not quite a con for Trista’s collection, was the poem on page 26. It’s a classic piece comparing women to some form of food or drink. I hear whiskey and girl and I immediately think of amateur men trying to write about the loves they fucked up with. Harsh? Maybe, but I’m not sorry. Those kinds of poems are overdone and I personally feel like they diminish women to nothing more than another thing you can consume and leave when done. Again, not a con directly to Honeybee, as it was just one poem, but a thought I wanted to share nonetheless.

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Published by Robin

Poetry author from Pennsylvania

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