Book Reviews

The Smallest of Bones by Holly Lyn Walrath

The Smallest of Bones
by Holly Lyn Walrath!
Find it on Amazon

The Smallest of Bones by Holly Lyn Walrath
Available on Amazon
September 28, 2021

My Thoughts~

I was so excited to read The Smallest of Bones since I loved Glimmerglass Girl so much. Even though I had an idea of what to expect from this author’s style and poetry, I was overwhelmingly surprised. Both poetry books The Smallest of Bones and Glimmerglass Girl are amazing. I love them both. Holly Lyn Walrath gets to the grit, writes from a familiar perspective and reveals secrets without shame.

I started reading before I looked at the description to give myself a chance to feel it. In these words, I read loss, grief, disappointment, yearning, regret and anger. Feelings that are very common in our human existence and most likely extremely associable to most. Expressing them, letting them out, getting to the height of the pain, is more difficult and uncommon. Even when someone is feeling it, living with it, they may be afraid to say it. Sometimes there is a sense of denial of it until they see it written by another or hear it said by someone else. Holly breaks open those identifiable feelings with her writing.

Almost like chapter titles, major bones of the body are listed and detailed, breaking up sections of the several poems. Each with an explanation how bones protect vital organs. This is where the poetry lifted my imagination. On one hand, there is an expression of looking in the mirror at oneself and finding acceptance, in appearance, choices, who the person really and truly is. Pure acceptance. The words are freeing and elevating to the individual self.

I also read something else in the words. The skeleton is the body’s armor. Bones cage the body from harm, especially so the most sensitive and vital parts. Throughout the writing, in the words of these beautiful poems I felt the caging of emotions for safety. The artistry of these words paint for me the notion that the bones are protecting feelings. In a flight to save, the bones protect from emotional harm as well as physical harm.

It is always possible the author of poetry intends something else, something other than what the reader gets from the words. Maybe that is what makes poetry what it is, something to read, take it in and let it move you. Any way it moves you, is ok.

For me, poetry is a sense of soothing, understanding and comfort. Though the words may seem weird, maybe morbid leaning toward macabre even as they deal with body parts, they are extremely moving. The words certainly did move me, and I felt completely connected to them. These poems in The Smallest of Bones, the words forming verse are saying exactly what is not easily said aloud. There is an obvious connection with the human condition and how each human, all individuals deal with their life issues.

The cover is as captivating as the title, pulling and tugging. It caught my attention and I wanted to know this poetry. There are birds in a cage of ribs. Fragile things, unable to break free. There is one bird, sort of hanging out, outside the cage showing the others the way that they too can be free. Maybe bones are the cage we make for ourselves to protect and sometimes the cages society builds for one another. Then, with feelings of no possibility of escape, bones shield. Bones are simply our skeletons, something very similar to each other, yet different in many ways too and the very bare part of us.

The theme is consistent throughout with the words and verse very fitting to the title and cover. The poems are beautifully styled. The subject matter is striking, hitting hard and close on a personal level. I absolutely love it.

The Smallest of Bones

Title : The Smallest of Bones
Author : Holly Lyn Walrath
Pub Date : September 28, 2021
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Clash Books
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏: ‎ 90 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1944866957
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1944866952

A haunting ossuary of tiny poems covering a wide range of topics such as love, romance, relationships, queer sexuality, religion, death, demons, ghosts, bones, gender, and darkness. 

The Smallest of Bones guides those on an intimate journey of body acceptance, with sparse words dedicated to peeling back skin and diving bone-deep into the self. Raw, honest, and powerful, this collection is an offering to those struggling to find power in the darkness.

“Between stars and shards of bone, Holly Lyn Walrath invites the reader to build a skeleton with her words, to get lost between the dark spaces of curved ribs. The Smallest of Bones offers so much within each poem – here, we wander beneath the moon and speak with ghosts; we transform under the night sky and haunt our own minds as the words encourage us to strip back the skin and expose rawness and vulnerability. A beautiful collection!”

About the Author

Holly Lyn Walrath’s poetry and short fiction appears in the Strange Horizons, Fireside Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, Liminality, and Analog. She is the author of Glimmerglass Girl (Finishing Line Press, 2018), winner of the Elgin Award for best speculative chapbook, and Numinose Lapidi, a chapbook in Italian from Kipple Press. She holds a B.A in English from The University of Texas and a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. You can find her canoeing the bayou in Houston, Texas, on Twitter @HollyLynWalrath, or at

Paperback The Smallest of Bones on Amazon Follow Holly Lyn Walrath on Amazon and Instagram

1 thought on “The Smallest of Bones by Holly Lyn Walrath”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s