Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: love, relationships, heartbreak, diversity, sexuality.
Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars
Bookstagram has been opened my eyes to a lot of great authors and books, and most surprisingly, poetry. I used to dabble in poetry when I was in elementary school, but it was mostly forced by my ‘gifted and talented’ teachers, and the subject always steered towards horses, haha. I loved writing, but poetry didn’t stick. I also wasn’t a huge fan of reading poetry- probably the lack of equine-themed work, LOL- and so I’ve seriously lagged in my education. Scrolling through booksta one day, I saw Trista Mateer’s images, quotes and captions from The Dogs I Have Kissed. I had to follow her, and every quote just seemed so emotional and relatable. I figured, since I was already hooked, I needed the book.
(Photo Credit: Google Images)
Finally getting around to it, The Dogs I Have Kissed is a provocative, hard hitting, heart wrenching series of poems that I think, if not all, at least one of which people could relate to. Topics include parental abandonment, sexuality, exes and past relationships, and religion, each with twists, innuendo, and potency.
Bite is the first section, and it delivers exactly that. I found it interesting that many of the poems have a mention of mouths in there, conveying seduction and blunt language, though this does continue on into other sections- just less often. The next section, titled Growl, has a collection of gritty poems that seem to reveal a little more about Mateer- not that she seems to be hiding much, as she doesn’t seem to hold back the details. The third section, Roll Over, shares a few more reflective pieces and ends with a long poem that really sums up the the relationships discussed throughout the poems in the book- with no tidy ends, but at least a sense of understanding of where the poet stood by the end. Also, I love how the dog theme flows throughout- the titles of each section, the main title, the references within the poems.
Most of the poems are relatively short, with only a handful spanning over two pages. Obviously, reading poems is relatively fast paced just because of their length, but Mateer still makes the short ones pack a punch. They create a strong impact, full of emotion and clearly getting across certain imagery. For example, titled 4/23:
“I don’t know how to exist properly
in the same space as someone
I don’t love anymore.” – Trista Mateer
It’s only three lines, but it’s one powerful statement. Yet all the poems have this conversational, confession-like quality to them as well. I think that’s what has drawn me to them- that they are content similar to what I’ve either discussed with friends, or thought myself, or in some cases, haven’t even thought to contemplate. They’re blunt and honest. I don’t do favorites, but I really loved Improper Emergency Procedure, and the series of Texts I Shouldn’t Have Sent to My Ex.
Overall, I highly recommend buying yourself a copy. You’ll want to read her work over and over again, so it’s definitely worth adding to your personal collection. I hope my review has done justice for a beautiful collection!
TL/DR: The Dogs I Have Kissed by Trista Mateer is a collection of poetry about relationships, good and bad- an ultimate collection for break-ups and make-ups.
Read it? YES. It’s so powerful but quick to read.
Recommend it? Yes, to any of those who enjoy poetry and want to read something universally relatable.
Buy it? Definitely! If you’re into poetry, add this to your collection.
If you liked this collection of poetry or it’s review, check out these similar poetry collections.