I received a copy of A.H. Lewis’ The Smallness of Everything Else for review purposes. As always, this review reflects only my honest thoughts on the book.
The Smallness of Everything Else
by A.H. Lewis
Publication Date: 2019
A glimpse, that’s all you’re seeing.
That’s all anyone ever sees.
This comment on comparison culture and idealisation can certainly be applied to poetry, too. And here, in A.H. Lewis’ The Smallness of Everything Else, that glimpse is enough to assure you that this poet might just become one of your newest favourites.
I had been lucky enough to work with Lewis previously, as she contributed to the inaugural issue of Nightingale & Sparrow. From that experience, I knew I certainly enjoy her work, and I was excited to check out this collection.
Throughout The Smallness of Everything Else, Lewis confronts life and love in our modern world, alongside the many challenges that come with both living and loving. It takes you into space, through the galaxy, and lands you solidly back on earth, surrounded by feeling and staring up at the stars.
In a perfect world, I’d read every book I review at least twice before sitting down to write about it, but that rarely happens. Despite being on a tight timeframe with this review, I had to give The Smallness of Everything Else a second read, albeit a quick one. I found that to be the best way to truly take in and appreciate the scope of the collection—each page has an element of nuance that demands to be absorbed.
It’s impossible to not recognise and admire the craft in these pieces. “note the note,” a poem from the latter half of the book, is a personal favourite and its form is impressive—it’s a piece I will certainly return to. In fact, I’m likely to revisit most of the poems in this book (and, at some point, return to reread it yet again!).
So much of this book was relatable, and almost painfully so. Surely that is in part due to similarities in our lives and upbringings as women of nearly the same age (and in relatively close proximity—opposite sides of PA!). Yet, I have a feeling this connection hits on a more universal note, too.
“anxiety” hit me the hardest in terms of wondering how Lewis had been able to capture my own feelings so beautifully: “It’s real, and it’s all your fault.” In the context of the poem, it would be hard to read that line and not be met with chills.
In her foreword, Lewis writes, “A single poem is not a constant state of mind. Each poem is a snapshot, a glimpse, into everyday life, with the fluidity and tumult of a waterfall.” In the case of the scrapbook that is this collection, it’s more than worth taking a closer look.
About the Author
A.H. Lewis is a writer and poet living in Pittsburgh, PA. After earning a B.A. in English from Allegheny College, she went on to pursue her passion for literature by creating her freelance editing business, Happily Edit After, and publishing her first book just shy of her 27th birthday- the first undoubtedly, of many. She is a fan of all things related to summer and nighttime, especially during the clearest of starry skies, and more often than not she is wearing all black, from her combat boots to her favorite lipstick.