Literature Reviews

Review: Survive Like the Water by Lydia Havens

survive like the water

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

Title: Survive Like the Water

Poet: Lydia Havens

Genre: Poetry

Where to buy: Rising Phoenix Press

Summary: In her debut poetry collection, Lydia Havens explores how mental illness, grief, and abuse have correlated in her own life, and in the patterns, she observes in the rest of the world. Divided into four thematic parts, Survive Like the Water describes trauma using everyday occurrences and objects, and asks necessary questions about healing as a lifelong process. (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: mental illnesses, intrusive thoughts, traumatic experiences, low self-esteem, death.

My thoughts

Oh my stars. I love this collection with all of my heart. As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, I felt understood. As someone who isn’t always able to articulate their thoughts, I felt myself being expressed by someone else. How ridiculous is that? It’s a good kind of ridiculous. Reading Survive like The Water was incredibly nourishing.

What does it say about me, and the fact

that there are still mornings,

ten months later, where I wake up

and mistake the sound of my own breathing

for ambulance sirens?

– During the Worst of it, p.21

The way Havens’ articulates so much in little images and ideas is simply breathtaking. Literally, I never felt more understood by a poet or a person for that matter. In this particular poem, Havens discusses how health professionals often treat people with mental illnesses, even our own families, and the speaker is horrified more with them than their own mental health.

Why did I read it?

The title intrigued me. Anything linked to water gets me interested.

Does the poet have other works?

Lydia Havens has written GIRLS INVENT GODS, Warrior Worrier, and Evolution & Revolution.


Havens’ collection is a favourite of mine. If you like dark, emotive poetry, then this is for you.

– Melissa Jennings

Have you ever felt understood by a poet?

Let me know!

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