bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward

Yrsa Daley-Ward's poetry has been heavily promoted on Nayyirah Waheed's instagram, so I was incredibly excited to check it out when it became available this fall. Bone is a stirring collection of poetry about memory, and, in reading it, we learn about the poetry created through the experiences of Daley-Ward's life, covering everything from abuse to sexuality, from history to detachment. It is memoir, delivered in small, impactful doses. It is the epic of her self-discovery.

The bones of her life assemble this body of poetry, distinct from any collection I have read before. However, they ring so surely of her life that I read them like a reader would, outside of the experience. Where poetry activates something within me is where I am drawn in, as if someone has written, beautifully, my own story, assembled my experiences as succinctly and painfully as I have known them, or where they mend a wound I carry around. I am a selfish reader of poetry in this way. This book accomplished those things in her name, and, my, she tells her stories wonderfully, but her poetry did not move me as others have, despite having enjoyed the experience of reading bone.

Some favorites:


Some lovers look you in the mouth

right clean in your mouth

and your story comes,



what love isn't

It is not a five-star stay. it is not

compliments and it is never ever


It is solid. Not sweet but always


always herb, always salt. Sometimes


It is now and till the end. It is never a 

slither, never a little

it is a full serving

it is much

too much and real

never pretty or clean. It stinks - you can 

smell it coming

it is weight

it is weight and it is too heavy to feel

good sometimes. It is discomfort - it is

not what the films say. Only songs

get it right

it is irregular

it is difficult

and always, always