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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
I Swear Somewhere This Works: Selected Poems 2013-2023 is a work of non-fiction in the poetry, relationships, and reflection subgenres. It is best suited to mature adult readers owing to themes of sex and sexual assault and the use of explicit language throughout. Penned by author Trista Mateer, the work takes us through the poet’s early life and the messy experiences of her teen and young adult era, especially where love and heartbreak are concerned. The poems are largely sapphic in their theming, and in more than 200 verses, we get a real feel for a whirlwind of emotions, learning, loving, losing, and hoping over a decade of growth.
Author Trista Mateer shows a great deal of strength in the issues she tackles in the pages of this heartfelt, emotive, raw work. I felt immediately engaged by the poetic style, which had accessibility due to its seemingly simplistic use of language to set scenes in one’s mind of folded paper, passing notes, secret places, and close encounters. Then, the emotion and tension of the work begin to travel through the deceptively simple sentences, bringing with them untold volumes of wanting, needing, hurting, and healing. LGBTQIA+ readers will find much to relate to, especially as Mateer homes in on the sense of panic, isolation, and otherness of knowing you’re different and not necessarily knowing how to act on that. Overall, I Swear Somewhere This Works is a highly recommended collection for all poetry fans and one of those magical volumes that tells you exactly who its author is in every line.