I Swear Somewhere This Works

Selected Poems 2013-2023

Poetry - General
260 Pages
Reviewed on 02/03/2024
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    Book Review

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.

Pikasho Deka

Since the early 2010s, Trista Mateer has been writing poems on Tumblr and other social media platforms. I Swear Somewhere This Works is a collection of her poetic work from 2013 to 2023. The book features poems from Mateer's burgeoning career from her early days to her latest work. "Excuses, Excuses" recounts the loss of someone's love when one feels so hurt and hollow inside that they lose the ability to be angry. "Instead of Writing Our Breakup Poem" is a moving poem where the narrator reminisces about the days of heartbreak and loneliness. "Rachel" is a shoutout to Rachel and Ross's relationship from the show Friends, where the narrator encourages Rachel to move on with her life without Ross. "Accidentally Rambling" is an outpouring of the residual resentment and anger left behind by a broken relationship.

A personal and intimate quality to Trista Mateer's mesmerizing verses makes you ponder your past relationships, heartbreaks, and life. I Swear Somewhere This Works is a captivating poetry collection penned by a talented poet whose poems find a way to pull at your heartstrings. Mateer's modernist approach to her poems makes them feel introspective, and you'll relate to some of her verses with anecdotes from your own life. Between the pages, you will also find Twitter snippets and snapshots from the author's personal life. This is the first and only book I've read by Trista Mateer so far; to me, she is a master of her craft. All in all, a gem of a book for poetry aficionados.