I adored and connected with Mateer’s The Dogs I Have Kissed, and was eager to get my hands on a copy of Honeybee. As I began reading, I had to share this quote from her author note in the beginning:
“Honeybee is a collection about letting go…letting go is rarely a straightforward process. It’s messy and it’s repetitive, and it happens in waves of trying to make things work and trying to move on at the same time.”
This perfectly summed up what the whole collection- it’s messy, repetitive, and makes the reader feel as if you’re watching a very intimate break-up scene. If you skipped the intro, you wouldn’t appreciate that this is the exact concept Mateer wished to convey, and that’s exactly how it’s to be interpreted. I had to keep that in mind as I read, because there were a multiple times where I thought, that sounds like the last poem, or didn’t she already say something about that moment? I also kept second-guessing the formatting. Was it my Kindle app, or is the formatting all over the place? One moment, the poems are in a typed, paragraph format, the next in a handwritten style.
I did love the addition of Mateer’s sketched artwork in the collection- they add a visual element to some of the poems that bring her words to life.
Often as the reader, I found myself sympathizing and empathetic towards the poet. Clearly, much of it is a reflection of a break-up between two long-time partners, but there are also poems that are just about loss in general. I personally connected with “Google Searches On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown”, “Postscript”, “What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Leaving (What I Can Tell You About Leaving)”, “Here’s Your Permission”, and “This Has Nothing To Do With You.” The rest were emotional in the way that poems about loss and ending relationships are, and though I didn’t feel attached to those emotions discussed, I can certainly see others relating.
Personally, I plan to buy myself a copy of Honeybee to add to my personal collection of poetry, and I’d encourage others to do the same. I think there could be a time where I’m going to need to read Mateer’s poems, and I’d want a copy handy. I’d encourage others to do the same.