Literature Reviews

Review: All the Things I Never Said by Mae Krell

all the things i never said

Rating: ★★ (2 stars)

Title: All The Things I Never Said

Poet: Mae Krell

Genre: Poetry

Where to buy: Amazon

Summary: All The Things I Never Said is a collection of poetry and journal-like entries. Throughout the pages you will experience heartbreak, happiness, sadness, and be reminded of what it was like to be a teenager. (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: body negativity, loss, substance abuse, self-harm, death, suicide, cancer, addiction, eating disorder.

My thoughts 

This collection was difficult to rate as due to its autobiographical nature, it was truthful, yet it lacked clarity, impact, and coherence. In their introduction, Mae Krell describes the difficulty of putting words down on paper and how we need to simply jot everything down for future reference, which is great advice in my opinion, however, the poetry/prose collection was simply not precise enough for me to connect to Krell’s thoughts.

(TW: suicide, self-harm, cancer) One of Krell’s poems stood out to me for all the wrong reasons:

All the suicidal kids
with all their cuts and pills
no matter how hard they try
they just can’t get it right
because they were born to live
All the cancerous kids
with all their smiles and tears
no matter how hard they try
they just can’t get it right
because they were born
to die

– Suicidal and Cancerous

Using cancerous as an adjective was not a good choice, Krell could have used destructive instead as my mind automatically went to cancer. As I read the last stanza, I was disgusted that the poet insinuated that people who have cancer “were born to die”. The word choice and construction of this particular poem was horrific and ultimately brought my rating down a star.

Why did I read it?

I am intrigued by the “unspoken” in poetry.

Does the poet have other works?

According to Goodreads, no.


This collection needs a lot of editing as it was repetitive in places and lacking impact.

If you like autobiographical poetry, then this is for you.

What is your editing process?

Let me know below!

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