The Hollows of Bone
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Isabella J. Mansfield writes poetry, but you probably knew that. She writes often about anxiety, body image, intimacy, and will occasionally break her "no rules" rule for haiku, tanka and senryu. In 2018 she won the Mark Ritzenhein New Author Award. She is probably wearing a burgundy shirt right now.
The poems in Isabella J. Mansfield's The Hollows of Bone oscillate between caring and not caring, between apathy and "its hands around a heart" - the speaker's heart - and the pain this 'not caring' causes. The upshot is bruises - from all quarters - from "momlife," from being a daughter, from the body the speaker inhabits. Even a run of the mill shopping trip turns comically dark as a discount toy mutters Dia de Los Desecration rants at all the customers and exposes our speaker as the Target's center. The good news is that this hollow spot and the others explored here have a voice - Mansfield's voice - and unfold in raw, lyrical poems that rise triumphantly and find "the beauty in it."
-Dennis Hinrichsen, Lansing Poet Laureate and author of Skin Music
The Queen of Brevity introduces her beautiful poetry chapbook, The Hollows of Bone. Make no mistake, these bones have plenty of meat on them. Mansfield takes every day subjects and makes them powerful, relatable, heartbreaking, and often, humorous too. She discusses the fragility of human emotions, with anxiety taking the forefront - speaking to us all about how life and its foibles can manifest into a work of poetic art that kicks us all in the gut with its honesty.
-Sammie Adams, Poet & co-founder of Poetsln
To say that The Hollows of Bone is 'compelling' or 'riveting' wouldn't do it justice. What do you even call a poetry book that hits this hard? I don't know the word, but Isabella J. Mansfield probably does.
-B. Diehl, author of Ballpoint Penitentiary