Why The Surrender Theory Poems Make Me Cry

By Skylar Hart

Poetry is so beautiful to read because it is art. There is so much to it yet it is so simple. In the book of poems, The Surrender Theory, by Cailtin Conlon, she discusses heartbreak, love, grief, and healing in the rawest way. Conlon does not shy away from the hard parts of life, and it makes her poems feel like you are talking to a friend or maybe you are talking to yourself, trying to figure out who you are and what you are healing from. My favorite poem in the book is entitled “You Cooked For Me.” This poem is clearly told from the point of view of a person who once loved someone and is looking back on this love wondering why they loved so hard or why they held on. A passage from the poem that really stuck with me is,

“It felt like the kindest thing anyone had ever done

for me — mixing handmade pesto in a white bowl.”

These lines are so important and memorable because they are relatable. Everyone who has loved someone has had that moment where they watch the person they love doing something kind for them and they think that that kindness is the nicest thing anyone has done for them. They believe that these actions are the most loving thing they will ever receive, much like the author felt here. When the author looks back on the relationship she realizes that that moment was really the most her lover ever did for her. She says,

“In retrospect I can see that you gave me very little

and I tried to build an entire future with it.

You must understand, I had never been remembered

like that, before.”

This poem is beautiful because it is human. It evokes feelings that feel so familiar. So many women in my life often talk about how they look back on their relationships and their breakups and they cannot believe how blinded they were by love alone. They cannot believe that they set their standards so low because they were in love and that is all they wanted. They wanted to be remembered, much like the poet in this work. My favorite part of the poem, however, is the last line: “I took what I was offered and ran.” This feeling is so real. When someone does one nice thing for you when you are in a vulnerable state, you believe everything about them is good. You take what they give you and you run with it, because it is human.

Every friend that I have had that has broken up with their significant other since owning this book, I have read this poem to them. More often than not they cry because they feel so touched by the piece or maybe because it feels so familiar to them too. The beauty of Caitlin Conlon’s book is that it touches you. It is so human, so raw, and so absolutely heartbreaking that it makes for one of the most beautiful collections of poetry that I have ever read. If you get the chance, pick this book up and prepare to cry.

Conlon, Caitlin. The Surrender Theory: Poems. Central Avenue Publishing, 2022.

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