The Lithium Chronicles

Volume One

Poetry - General
148 Pages
Reviewed on 04/24/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite

The Lithium Chronicles is a collection of recovery. Some of the material is out of publication. Some is new. All of it is superb. And by superb, I mean devastating. Ms. Lyons is a poet’s poet. She is also a people’s poet. She is anybody’s poet who looks to poetry for revelation, recognition, redemption, but mostly for empathic understanding. She is a poet for the soul and of the soul. She explores the depths of being that only a flayed and battered soul can fully appreciate. And her indelible appreciation for a life unobstructed by shallow ameliorations gives respect and meaning to the soul in everyman.

“You say you want
to know my soul
but the truth is that
my light would blind you
long before you could
ever drown in my darkness.”

The only honest way to properly review the poetry of Nicole Lyons is to let it speak for itself. The only way to convey its depth, passion, beauty, artistry and emotional soul bludgeoning is to share it.

“Until you have tethered
your madness
to someone else’s sanity
in order to keep breathing,
you don’t know vulnerability.”

The Lithium Chronicles is a kind of medication, but not one you take to mask the pain. Nicole Lyons accentuates the pain. She draws it into the starkest light to reveal every flaw and point of weakness. You cannot turn away. Not when you see yourself revealed naked and alone. Not when you know you aren’t alone. Not when you read words that bring your life to life. Not when, thanks to a poet of such devastating talent, you find meaning where you thought there might be none. But you simply must read her words for yourself.

“It’s an odd feeling
to scream into nothing
and ask for a pause
just for one second,
to catch a breath,
because life should stop
for a moment,
at that moment
when your world
has fallen apart,
just so you can
catch your breath.”

K.C. Finn

The Lithium Chronicles: Volume One is a collection of poetry penned by author Nicole Lyons. In this new collection, Lyons takes some previous pieces of poetic work from volumes such as Hush, Blossom and Bone, and I Am A World Of Uncertainties Disguised As A Girl, building on that theme of disguise and dealing with personal issues such as mental illness and depression. The older pieces are accompanied by new inspirations that tie a new narrative together across former works, elevating them to a new position where the author brings us to her personal here and now. Raw in nature and deeply emotional, the psyche of the author and her daily struggles in life come to the fore with powerful transcendence.

Tackling the full range of emotions, from extreme joy and love down to darkness, depression, loss, and thoughts of the end, poet Nicole Lyons knows how to construct beautiful images simply, yet powerfully, to get her emotions across. Readers who have suffered from mental illness themselves are certain to take much solace in her honesty, as well as translating her verses to draw parallels in their own life. The overall message, though harrowing, is also hopeful, and the poems present deep and complex imagery which I found I was able to return to and re-experience in different ways once I’d read the collection as a whole. Overall, Nicole Lyons uses The Lithium Chronicles as a comprehensive guide to herself as an artist and a human being, inviting us into a well-penned world of real, raw feeling.

Marta Tandori

Nicole Lyons drops a bombshell on us in The Lithium Chronicles: Volume One – that there are living, breathing human beings coping with, and sometimes triumphing over, the pain and indignity of mental illness. Lyons’s collection of poems is really more akin to internalizations, thoughts, and frustrations and, perhaps most poignantly, cries to be seen and heard. My Days are Numbered speaks of the compartmentalization of the daily pill regime and what each color represents of the quality of the taker’s life. All That I Am is raw and visceral; Of Maniacs and Manics speaks of that which touches the soul and psyche; Midnight Mind gives us a unique perspective into one’s mind; I Have Surrendered on this Night describes how going to sleep is akin to “surrendering” oneself. Each offers a unique and honest perspective into mental illness that is both visceral and raw. However, it’s really the shorter offerings that pack a resounding punch; offerings like Anchored, that speaks of tethering one’s madness to another’s sanity; But You Were, that sagely notes that “not all prisons have locks”; Stoic that states, “I will not force a pretty smile upon my face to please eyes that no longer see me”; and Still, Here that speaks so plaintively, “They have turned their backs but I am still here. I am still here.”

Lithium is a psychiatric medication used to treat depression, schizophrenia, and other disorders. Although mental illness is less the taboo subject it once was, the voice we hear in Lyons’s collection is that of a fighter and a realist; someone who isn’t afraid to rip off the veneer of social niceties to expose raw emotion, utter pain, and cries for acceptance. Poignant, melancholy and utterly visceral, each poem demands an emotional response. It demands us to take notice of the human being behind the condition who bleeds, cries, feels and loves just like the rest of us – despite the unseen battles that play out daily in her mind. The Lithium Chronicles does more than give us well-chosen words that enlighten and offer another perspective on the human condition. It creates impact through the effective combination of beautiful and ugly words; words that soothe and those that sting and oftentimes leave a scar. Wholeheartedly well worth the read, to be sure.