Poetry that strikes: Bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward
Bone is a striking and moving collection of poetry that focuses on growing up, love, sexuality, being different, and working through inner thoughts and feelings in stark ways. Daley-Ward’s poems vary from telling vivid stories in a tiny space (‘the not quite love’) and addressing concerns like growing up religious in a concise, direct way (‘liking things’) to longer, heartbreaking stories like ‘some kind of man’. There are poems that will strike a chord with teenagers and adults about love not being with the right people (‘emergency warning’, ‘I’ll admit it, I’m drawn to the wolves’) and poems that can offer advice, optimism, and blunt suggestions of regret (‘things it can take twenty years and a bad liver to find out’, ‘mental health’).
Her writing is distinctive and offers stark stories and emotion. Many of the poems in the book have particular endings, a couple of lines or so that hit you right in the chest. A number of pieces near the end also consider the act of writing poetry and where creation and truth come from, highlighting storytelling and using words to work through difficult things. It is hard to talk about Bone without wanting to go through and point out the best lines in everything; it is a collection of poetry to savour in its blunt emotion and careful expression.