Trista Mateer elicits both the sweetness and bitterness of love in her unfiltered and touching poetry collection Honeybee.

Mateer is a previously self-published poet (The Dogs I Have Kissed) who's garnered an impressive following through her blog and social media. From the first poem in Honeybee and onward, it's easy to understand her popularity: she writes from the heart. "And I swear to god/ it will be worth something," the poet declares in "In the End." Honeybee is about a painful breakup of a same-sex love affair. The poet addresses her female former lover in the second person, alternating between bittersweet reminiscence and emotional devastation, working her way toward some kind of healing. Interwoven in this weft of love and pain are pointed observations about bisexuality and self-acceptance.

Mateer's confessional style occasionally leads to cliché and awkward imagery--her estranged lover is likened to a bag of frozen peas at one point--but on the whole succeeds at poignantly describing heartbreak. At its best, Honeybee creates memorable moods and metaphors. In "A List of New Things," LAX is a "monstrosity built almost entirely out of anxiety." In "Catch and Release," poetry is less about healing and more about "fishing lures/ baiting you out of me." Besides free verse, Honeybee contains redacted voicemail transcripts, unsent text messages and "preemptive wedding toasts." These manifestations of messiness and rawness--not without a touch of artifice--make this collection refreshingly down-to-earth. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset

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