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Review: Bone By @YrsaDaleyWard

Review: Bone By @YrsaDaleyWard

Swallowing discomfort down in
spades
holding it tight in your belly.
Aging on the inside only.
Keeping it forever sexy.
— a fine art by Yrsa Daley-Ward

I discovered the greatness of Bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward thanks to an Amazon suggestion about one year ago, and it has stuck with me as one of my favorite collections of poetry.  As a woman of Jamaican heritage and Adventist upbringing, seeing such honesty laid out for me in the pages of this book by a woman who has lived things that I have lived offered a unique sense of comfort.  Daley-Ward is a writer of Jamaican and Nigerian heritage who was raised by her devout grandparents.  Bone is her first collection of poetry and prose that very clearly sought to shed light on the quiet parts of growing into oneself. She addresses womanhood, sexuality, relationships, and all the mess that comes with them in a way that makes you want to revel in the thick of its difficulty and make it look sexy.

Thank Goodness I have nearly
unlearned
folding my desire into itself
being afraid to claim it.
— relief by Yrsa Daley-Ward

In this collection, Daley-Ward touches on the softness of loving another, the struggle of learning to make room for yourself, and the burden of hurting quietly.  It takes a great deal of talent and precision to capture an emotional landscape within the confines of very few words, but her poems manage to do just that.  Working as both a homage and critique of what it means to be shaped by the people around you is what sold me on the brilliance of this work.  Because as hard as many writers may try to flatten the experiences of love, life, and development into two dimensions, they will simply always be real and unruly. Bone gives a voice to every part of each experience in a way that makes them feel real enough to reach out and touch.

When they ask how you are
don’t say fearful. Narrow your eyes
and kiss your teeth but don’t say
afraid.
— when they ask by Yrsa Daley-Ward

Though I have always preferred poetry to prose, Daley-Ward put forth a remarkable effort at changing my mind. The prose in this collection painted such vivid descriptions of each character that I was left with the same fullness as if I had just read an entire novel. The way she laced her own sense of family and relationships throughout the creation of these works is what gives them such comforting familiarity. I look forward to reading more of her work and seeing what else she has in store as a magical woman of color with a brilliant pen.

Seize that loveliness.
It has always been yours.
— Yrsa Daley-Ward
Due to Art: Malika Mutombo

Due to Art: Malika Mutombo

deliberate.

deliberate.