Literature Reviews

Review: Small Ghost by Trista Mateer

small ghost

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

Title: Small Ghost

Poet: Trista Mateer

Genre: Poetry

Where to buy: Amazon

Summary: “Small Ghost is a brief narrative collection of poetry about depression and anxiety with a central focus on coping mechanisms.” (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: scars, mental illness, knives, anxiety, panic attacks, alcohol abuse, low self-esteem, blood, use of the word f*cking.

My thoughts

Small Ghost is one of the most relatable and tragic poetry collections I have ever read. As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, I recognised myself within these pages. Trista Mateer’s dedication nearly made me weep:

for anybody who feels like they’d


pull the sheet over their head and play


than get out of the bed in the morning

The narrative-like structure of Small Ghost was what intrigued to read Mateer’s collection, as I was curious if the summary would be connected to this “small ghost”, and goodness, I finished reading the collection with a whole new understanding of my mental health.

As I adored this collection, dog-earing every page on my Kindle app, I will share some poems/lines that were my (absolute) favourite:

she makes things so people know she’s still


she makes things so she knows she’s still here

– Small Ghost Gets Creative

There is something about creating things that make you feel alive, makes you feel real. It’s also bizarre how, as people, we feel a need to do things in order to feel a part of society and/or even ourselves.

I also loved Lauren Zaknoun’s illustrations of the “Small Ghost”; the images of the ghost made the poetry much more impactful.

Why did I read it?

Mental illness is rarely discussed as it is, so this was a must read.

Does the poet have other works?

Trista Mateer has written other poetry collections, such as The Dogs I Have Kissed, Honeybee, and [Redacted].


I LOVE THIS COLLECTION. I really want a physical copy. Please, Trista?

If you enjoy impactful, poignant poetry, then this is for you.

– Melissa Jennings

Have you read narrative-like poetry before?

Let me know!

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