Cover Image: Grey Matters

Grey Matters

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Member Reviews

Grey Matters by Kristen Costello: Poems About Mental Health and Healing ⭐⭐⭐⭐

TW: Anxiety, Depression, Eating Disorder

Grey Matters by Kristen Costello is a courageous attempt at writing poems about mental health and healing. The poems are divided into four categories: Anxiety, Depression, Eating Disorder and Healing. Kristen provides an honest reflection of sufferings and pain one goes through. The poems are short and crisp, sometimes musings during mundane chores. The book takes you on a journey through poems and ends with sparks of hope and light after a phase of darkness.

You sit along with the author as they fight the demons, wanting to break free and facing the world. Some of my favourite poems were Performance, A Water Wish and Hourglass. Kristen’s writing is deep, thought-sparking and musical. The cover and title speak for themselves and totally justify the poems.

Definitely recommending it to anyone who likes poetry and to writers who seek inspiration.

Thank you to NetGalley, and the author for allowing me to read a copy of Grey Matters, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

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This collection of poetry was nothing short of mesmerising. Each section explored a challenge within mental health & although some were extremely hard to read, the poems excellently and beautifully described the challenges anyone experiencing negative mental health goes through.

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This was a very fast read for me but gosh was it impactful. Poetry is such an amazing escape for someone with big feelings and I felt everyone of those big feelings. I understood. I felt. I empathized. Having battled with mental illness myself (and still battling today) the poems really hit a place that felt raw and real. They were beautiful and terrible and hard but also uplifting in a way I expected but also didn’t. Mental health is confusing and hard place to pinpoint but this author did an amazing job encapsulating how it feels to live under the suffocating embrace of mental illness.

Definitely recommend

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Fluidity of expression is the hallmark of this collection of poems, capturing sights, sensations and thoughts during grief, loss, mental distress and vulnerability. I will refer to and have students read several of these for a bereavement support group to encourage jounaling/writing as a way to purge the mind and heart of troubling and unsettled thoughts. Enjoyed this first time around and will definitely us this as a reference for bereavement support group.

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I loved this collection.

Kristen Costello has this ability to create strong images

I love that it is separated in different sections so if you want to go through poems about anxiety but without reading about depression, you can do so (which other mental health related collections don't offer as many alternate poems about different conditions).

I love that the range of texts cover different aspects of each theme; anxiety is more than just worrying, depression isn't just feeling empty. The collection reflects how encompassing living with mental health difficulties can be.

The book ends with a section on healing, not in a self-help tips way, but through snippets of the journey to getting better, a celebration of small victories and acceptance of the process.

TW for the collection: anxiety, depression, eating disorders

Thank you NetGalley and Kristen Costello for the opportunity to read this ARC. I'm excited to read more by Kristen.

This collection is out now, available through the author's instagram

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I really really liked this. These poems felt really raw, and honestly spoke the truth about mental illnesses that people don't really like to admit to. I think a lot of people could relate to this like I did!

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I simply adore this book; it is honest, refusing to shy away from the more painful aspects of mental illness. It is both personal and universal, detailing the experiences of the poet in ways that feel like a conversation while also getting you to nod along like, "Yes. Yes, that's exactly what it feels like." I feel that if I encountered someone who didn't understand the nuances of life with anxiety, depression, or eating disorders, this would be the first (non-medical) book I'd hand them. It is raw but hopeful, open and optimistic in its discussion of the highs and lows of battling and healing from mental illness. I can't sing this book's praises enough, and can't wait to see what else Kristen Costello has in store.

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"I watered all the flowers except for me and wondered why I wilted."

When I first saw the Content Warning (CW) for this book I was a little nervous as some of these things upset me a little bit, but overall, while I appreciated the CW I actually really did enjoy this book. Costello goes on to describe a lot of things I have also been through in my short time, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and she has such a lovely way of describing something so tricky to describe to those who do not suffer with these things. She also sheds light on healing, how to heal and her process with healing, as far as the poems go. One of my favorite highlights was on 'Fixation' and it is: "Would you like to relive that conversation over and over again for the next seventy-two hours? Because really, it would be my pleasure." This is something a lot of people with anxiety, myself included, deal with and have to deal with on a daily basis. What could have been said differently? What could I have added? What could I have avoided saying all together? As someone who hyper fixates on a lot of things, especially conversations, past or present, her entire sections on Fixation and Anxiety really hits home for me.

I really enjoyed this book and I would love to read more by Kristen Costello, and I would definitely recommend this to a friend who has also gone through he same things as me and the author.

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Divided into poems about anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and healing, this is a wonderful collection of thoughts. The one-liner poems in particular deliver an accurate punch and makes you wonder how just a few words can sum up everything so perfectly.

“I watered all the flowers except for me and wondered why I wilted.”

Definitely going to be looking out for more from Kristen Costello. Thank you for my advance copy, @netgalley

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I truly enjoyed this poetry and the way this book was broken down. Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and then healing, All very personal issues but things many people have been through and dealt with. I was able to read this book in a day, I just couldn't put it down.

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Received this as an ARC on NetGalley and absolutely loved it- to the point I am buying a copy for myself! Every single poem was relatable for me personally. You got to sit alongside the author as they went from struggling by the minute, to wanting to break free, to finally getting on the road to healing, and then to emerging. It was inspirational and life changing for me and has motivated me to pursue that path for my own self as well! Highly recommend, especially if you suffer from mental health issues and/ or struggle with eating disorders. So good!

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"No, you are not yet where you want to be — but you aren’t where you were and that’s worth celebrating."

The poems are so raw and full of emotion that will encourage you to take things slowly and celebrate minor victories. Some of the poems had lovely writing and were enjoyable, but some weren't. Nevertheless, I do like the various nuances theme.

Thank you to NetGalley and the author for providing me with a digital copy of this book for an honest review.

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I loved every moment of this poetry collection. It describes anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and healing better than most can explain any of those hard topics. I could relate to all of these poems to some extent and have written so many of them down to reflect on later. Here is one of my favorites called Kingdom:

"I cried,
then built a polished palace
from my tears.

If I had never felt,
I would have never

**Thanks to NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for a review!**

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WOW. I really enjoyed this collection of poems. Some of them hit really hard and were just so amazing. Thank you for writing this poetry and sharing it with us. I appreciate the vulnerability in the words on the page. I really appreciate poetry and how it can bring us all together with similar experiences. I highlighted a lot of poems that hit hard home for me and I will definitely be looking back on them and sharing them with others. 5 star read for me!!

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I absolutely loved every page of this book.
The poems were so raw and honest, even people who couldn’t relate to it would get emotional.
For me, especially the parts about depression and anxiety hit deep, but I could also find myself within the poems about eating disorders. The healing part I’m still working on, but it sound beautiful and hopeful enough to inspire readers to want to get there.
The writing style was exceptionally beautiful.
I especially liked how the author doesn’t focus on the big picture, but all the little moments and realizations that make a whole.

A great read with a beautiful cover.

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Im a hit or miss when it comes to poetry but I enjoyed this!
I found really resonate with some of the anxiety and body issues topics.
It's nice to know that you're not alone and this book makes you feel valid which is so touching.
Super easy to read and very heartfelt.

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I love poetry, so when I saw this book I snached it right up. This is up there as one of the most beautiful poetry books I've read. I struggle with anxiety and I have never seen the struggle so perfectly written. It was like Kristen looked right into my soul. Some of the content is heavy, so make sure you practice self care when reading.

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The rawness and realness is the biggest appeal of this book! It feels truly authentic and self-honest, which many people are going to relate to. I loved the section about depression the most and felt the mailbox poem resonate with a deep part of my soul.

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☆☆3.5 stars☆☆

"today I think in black and white and feel nothing but grey"

Grey Matters, Kristen Costello's debut poetry collection, captures life from the perspective of those who suffer from anxiety, depression and eating disorders with heartbreaking accuracy. As someone who has struggled with these issues, several of the poems resonated with what I have experienced. Of course, every individual has a different story to tell and this collection reflects one woman's personal journey. These poems speak from Costello's soul, through the pain and the missteps, the ups and the downs, showing tremendous courage in her writing and in her willingness to share her story with the world.

Musings and streams of consciousness characterize the writing style with the narration feeling like a conversation one would have while drinking a cup of coffee with a friend. Some of the poems read like letters to the people who made a difference to the author on her path towards recovery and are filled with honest thoughts and gratitude. The title of the book and the gorgeous artwork on the cover fit perfectly with the tone of the writing and beautifully portray the inherent conflicts within the mind.

One of my favorite poems and perhaps the most metaphorically powerful:

💌The Eighth Day💌
"Everything bloomed for one week – seven pinkish-white days before spring retreated back into winter’s open mouth. For once, I want eight great days all lined up in a row – dominoes glued to a table glued to the floor. I want flowers erupting from my feet, twisting their stems up my legs, looping up and across my waist, my arms, my chest, until you can’t see my core through all the growth."

Some of my other personal favorites that I most identify with or find meaningful:
💌Fixation💌 a very real look at obsessive thoughts
💌Reflection💌 a reminder that I'm not alone in my fears of not being enough
💌Staring Contest💌 a focus on the need to bravely face one's faults in order to conquer them
💌Rebirth💌 a hope for new beginnings

And I love this one for its beautiful simplicity:

💌Cracking Cocoons💌
"Today, I’ve become a butterfly uprising – black and orange, pink and white, a flutter of fervor a flurry of flight."

The poems in this collection emphasize the importance of awareness and discussion of mental illness yet they also find light within the shadows and darkness. Kristen Costello has struggled but she also offers the reader hope towards healing through the growth she has achieved. Her poetry shows her strength and resilience, her optimism shines through her despair and her ability to rise when she falls motivates others to move forward. I believe many of her poems would be valuable for use as positive affirmations and I plan to refer back to them often.

"No, you are not yet where you want to be – but you aren’t where you were and that’s worth celebrating."

** Special thanks to author Kristen Costello and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Quotes subject to change at time of publication. Available March 22, 2023. **

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This book is a collection of poetry on a number of different mental health topics. The poems are split into categories based on mental health type, such as anxiety, eating disorders, etc. Many of the poems are short and easy to read. A lot of them are also super relatable or thought provoking. Overall, great job!

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