A Review of Blossom and Bonewritten by Nicole Lyons (review written by Liz Newman)

I find myself struggling with how to start this review of Blossom and Bone, not because I don’t have anything to say, but rather because there is so much I loved about it that I’m not sure where to begin. 

Nicole Lyons is a literary ninja. Each piece of poetry is masterfully crafted with its use of imagery and its ability to pack such a powerful punch, no matter the length of the piece. She writes with honesty and grit and unpacks topics such as heartbreak, mental health, passion, and hope. I especially like how she has short poems throughout that represent “lost lovers”: despair, shame, melancholy, and regret to name a few. It was such a creative and profound way to present various relationships that we all continue to grapple with, and the different kinds of feelings they evoke in us.

The following is an excerpt from “The Keeper of Time” that has become one of my personal favorites: “You are a great book of love, and loss, and light/and the wisdom of your pages, between your pages/ could never be rewritten into words greater/than any of your stories I have already read.” 

I love when a poet or author can create this incredible environment of vulnerability. A vulnerability in their personal life story that gives the reader the courage and the strength to also find the beauty in their own stories as well. The last few sentences of this poem are the kind of words that heal, and I will bookmark them to share with any friend who may need to experience them, or even myself should I need a reminder.

Blossom and Bone has an incredible range of its storytelling and subject matter. It takes us through the experiences of love and the glimmers of hope and passion that accompany it as well as the dark corners of despair and pain. 

Lyons transforms her pain onto these pages and describes her struggles with mental health. In “This Side of Midnight”, Lyons creates a beautifully symbolic piece detailing how our pain can echo out into the world, reverberating off of the universe, and find other souls in turmoil who may need to know their cries aren’t a solitary struggle.

One of my favorite parts of this piece reads:

“we could spill our secrets/before the clock strikes done/ and someone who has spent/their night wandering/can open the window, on their side of midnight/and hear the voices/that never took the time/to walk them home at dawn.” 

This piece spoke to me on such a deep level, as I feel it is at the core of why so many people turn to art in times of pain. It’s why so many people search for answers in dog-eared poetry books or for solutions in the songs whose words have always been a shout into the void of their darkness. Lyons provides readers with another source of hope and comfort with her words, like an understanding friend reaching her hand out to you, to show you that it gets better. 

“If they ask how I was able to turn/ pain into beauty and bring/their darkness to the light,/tell them it was only poetry.”

This excerpt from “It Was Only Poetry” was a perfect representation of Blossom and Bone as a whole. This collection isn’t afraid to go into the darkness. The author is raw and vulnerable with tales of her time in the night. Yet, she always finds a way to bring it back to the light. She writes from experience and is driven by a passion to create an astounding book of poetry. A book that helps you come to terms with your own emotions: whether it be rage, sadness, despair, hope, or passion. It’s a book that helps you process and heal. 

I can’t recommend this book enough. I had the honor of providing an honest review before the release, so all I can say is this: set your clocks, set a reminder on your phone. You are going to want to buy this book as soon as it hits the shelves. It belongs on every bookshelf of every person who has ever felt broken or misunderstood or afraid. Of every person who has felt love and loss and hope. Just wait until you see what Nicole Lyons has in store for you. Blossom and Bone will not disappoint. 


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