Literature Reviews

Review: This is How It Starts by Dawn Lanuza

this is how it starts

Rating: ★★★ (3 stars)

Title: This is How It Starts

Poet: Dawn Lanuza

Genre: Poetry

Where to buy: Amazon

Summary: A collection of poetry about love, heartbreak, acceptance, and fortitude.

Content Warnings: use of godd*mn, use of sh*t, intimacy.

My thoughts

I related to the majority of the poems, but the collection lacked variation for me. Dawn Lanuza’s dedication is “to alternate endings”, which caught my attention as it compliments the title. This is How It Starts is about beginning again after an awful ending of a relationship, and finding your inner strength to move on. The collection itself seems to go over past events which may have led up to an ending of some sort. What disappointed me about this poetry book was the lack of “starting” to move on, but perhaps the title itself is representative of the action – you don’t need to dwell on moving on, you just need to.

I know I said I know all about wanting

but I don’t know a thing about having.

– all this wanting

all this wanting is the opening poem of the collection, and it is a powerful one. The above lines are the final thoughts of the poem, and it impacted me greatly as the speaker expresses various things that they have desired across their life until coming to this realisation.

On a different note, there were some lovely illustrations in Lanuza’s poetry book. I wish there were more!

Back to the poetry, there was one particular line which stood out to me for various reasons:

It’s okay.

You’re okay.

You can wear your sadness

at midnight.

– this is your lullaby

The final lines of this stanza affected me massively. This poem is one of the few poems that address the idea of moving on, but of course, moving on requires a transition. This metaphor of wearing your sadness at dusk is equally comforting and disconcerting, I personally identified with this sentiment, I have never thought of sadness as something you can wear.

Why did I read it?

I’m all about supporting indie poets and authors. In addition, the collection actually doesn’t have a traditional summary, it is simply a poem from the book:

Not all
have to end
with you

Does the poet have other works?

Dawn Lanuza has written another poetry collection titled The Last Time I’ll Ever Write About You, and has written novels titled The Hometown Hazard and The Boyfriend Backtrack.


This is How It Starts is a good poetry collection, but it wasn’t for me in places. If you enjoy love poetry about finding yourself after a break-up, then this is for you.

– Melissa Jennings

Do you prefer specificity in love poetry?

Let me know!

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


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