Literature Reviews

Review: [Redacted] by Trista Mateer


Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

Title: [redacted]

Poet: Trista Mateer

Genre: Poetry

Where to buy: Amazon

Summary: “This comes in the form of handwritten notes and poetry fragments, iPhone note poetry, tweets, Craigslist ads, and more. This mix of poetry and prose spans a single month and covers topics such as heartbreak, gender, sexuality, and forgiveness.” (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: use of the word f*ck and variations of it, trauma, mention of sexual assault, mention of rape, bullets, blood, implied sexual messages, use of the word sh*t, knife, injury, choking, threat, violence, mental illness, use of the word a**hole, mention of masturbation, gun. use of the word c*m, mention of “violence against women”.

My thoughts

[redacted] is one of the most masterful poetry collection I have ever read. The mixture of form made the poetry satisfying and exhilarating to read. Moreover, some of the titles of Mateer’s poems were amazingly complicated, they seemed like poems themselves. [redacted] is simply a masterpiece and can only be described by a quote by Carrie Fisher: “take your broken heart and make it into art.”

he is more dream than boy, so

I’m not sleeping very well.

This is one of Mateer’s shortest poems in [redacted], nonetheless, it had the most impact, for me personally. The poem expresses this notion of presence, the fact that this “boy” is taking up their thoughts. Moreover, the poem could also illustrate that the boy is a figment of their imagination, perhaps a person from their past, and the speaker is tormented by the memory of them. ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES.

A recurring theme in [redacted] is metapoetry, where Mateer discusses “the poet” through poetry.

The poet emotionally tortures herself for art. The poet emotionally tortures other people for art.

– A Few of My Glaring Character Flaws Laid Out in Third Person Just for Kicks

I adore this writing style. The entire poem articulates the struggles of a poet, and how poets use poetry as a means of catharsis, and ironically, without really purging. As a poet, I found myself nodding furiously at this poem.

Why did I read it?

I love Trista Mateer’s writing style. She became one of my favourite poets after reading her chapbook Small Ghost.

Does the poet have other works?

Trista Mateer has written other poetry collections, Honeybee, The Dogs I Have Kissed, and Instead of Writing Our Breakup Poem, that I cannot WAIT to read.


I highly recommend [redacted] as it is a poetry collection which is experimental with form. Its topics are also various and poignant. If you enjoy emotive, abstract poetry, then this is for you.

– Melissa Jennings

Have you read metapoetry before?

Let me know!

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