Literature Reviews

Review: hummingbird by Sophia Elaine Hanson


Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

Title: hummingbird 

Poet: Sophia Elaine Hanson

Genre: Poetry

Where to buy: Amazon

Summary: “hummingbird is Sophia Elaine Hanson’s first collection of poetry to come to print. It tells a story of love, loss, and rebirth.” (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: implied nudity, mention of assault, emotional abuse, knives, sudden weight loss, wounds, human “insides”, vivid description of peeling back skin.

My thoughts

Sophia Elaine Hanson’s poetry is on another plane of existence. hummingbird is so good that I nearly dog-eared the whole collection. The poetry book consists of, well, poetry, prose, illustrations, and a short story that all generate an otherworldly quality. Hanson has a fantastic storytelling ability; I am inspired by her writing style and her words.

The following line is one of my favourites, and is also one that broke me:

I wonder what you remember, what you see when you say my name in the cold place between day and night. Do you still say it? Can you? Do I reply?

– Animals, p.3

The phrase “in the cold place between day and night” made me gasp; Hanson perfectly expresses those early hours that are undoubtedly “cold” at dawn, especially for those tormented by the past. The prose poem continues to devastate the reader by asking questions, each question complicating the line of thought. You can only wonder the answers to these questions.

The significance of the title is that the speaker is reclaiming themselves:

You call me hummingbird,

A heart too big for my little ribs.

– Hummingbird heart, p.7

Here’s a weird bird fact: hummingbirds are the only known bird species to fly backwards. If the speaker is truly hummingbird-like, then it is reasonable to say that the speaker is capable of rebirth or going “backwards”. Maybe it is a bit of a stretch, but the fact popped into my head when I was reading.

Why did I read it?

This is Hanson’s first poetry collection, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

Does the poet have other works?

Sophia Elaine Hanson has written/is currently writing a science fiction trilogy: Vinyl, Radio, and Siren. Hanson is also releasing a second poetry collection titled soul like thunder, which I cannot wait to read!


In a good way, this collection mystified me. I am in love with its magic. If you enjoy bewitching, relatable poetry, then this is for you.

– Melissa Jennings

 Whose poetry has bewitched you recently?

Connect with me: Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook / Ko-Fi


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