The How by Ysra Daley-Ward | Poetry for the Self

The How by Ysra Daley-Ward

Most of us have heard of Ysra Daley-Ward even if we haven’t had the chance to read her! You may also follow her on Instagram!

When I saw that The How was available as an ARC (advanced readers copy) on NetGalley, I had to request it, and somehow, I was approved.

I promised that I would read and review all my NetGalley books for this month, and here is my take on The How.

The Awful Three Percent ~ Ysra Daley-Ward

That awful three percent in you

thinks sadness is romantic.

Is aroused by unsavory things.

Wants the very worst thing to happen.

Wants everyone to want you

But doesn't know how to be loved.

Needs want. Wants, needs. Makes up stories

and sticks with them.

Can't be happy for your friends.

That horrible three percent in you thinks you'll be left behind.

Fears new things, old things, intimacy, loneliness,

children, childlessness, conflict, boredom,

isolation, silence, news.

That terrible three percent of you

is the reason it might fall through.

What does your three percent look like?


A treasure trove of inspiration and an invitation for personal renewal from the acclaimed author of bone and The Terrible

We still dream though, don’t we? We are gifted with a way into ourselves, night after night after night.

Yrsa Daley-Ward’s words have resonated with hundreds of thousands of readers around the world: through her books of poetry and memoir bone and The Terrible, through her powerful writing for Beyoncé on Black Is King and through her always-illuminating Instagram posts.

In The How, Yrsa gently takes readers by the hand, encouraging them to join her as she explores how we can remove our filters, and see and feel more of who we really are behind the preconceived notions of propriety and manners we’ve accumulated with age. With a mix of short, lyrical musings, immersive poetry and intriguing meditations, The How can be used to start conversations, to prompt writing, to delve deeper – whether you’re on your own or with friends, on your feet or writing from the solace of home.

My Take on The How

I love that Ysra Daley-Ward blended self-help and poetry. As someone who finds self-help books hard to take, the poetry helped me deal with my feelings as they came up.

I also loved that she acknowledged how much self is just there to prime us to become better consumers; that we can be fixed if we buy just the right thing!

self-love is not bath salts, a trip away, chocolate, or a wellness product-it does not have a two-hundred-dollar price tag. Self-care is not veganism or shopping or homeware. It is not cosmetics or ex- ercise. Everything helps, but it is the intention and inspired action, not the product. Simply put, self-love and self-care are deep commitments to the things that nourish you and the ter- mination of what does not.

The How ~ Ysra Daley-Ward

To add to the book Daley-Ward included writing and meditative exercises in The How so that a person could actually practice what she was preaching.

Exercise from The How

I’m including an exercise from The How by Ysra Daley-Ward. I really appreciated her writing exercises because those are incredibly therapeutic and I think some of you could benefit from those!

List five things that you have not completed that you feel un-
easy about. Choose two of these five things to begin again.
Take the time to complete them. Look at them and try to imbue yourself with all the passion that you initially had when you started. Approach each task at a time, and then begin.
You deserve many beginnings.

The last thing I’d like to include before we go is this poem that has become my favorite by Ysra Daley-Ward

You Are Not the Only One

Let that sit with you awhile. Everyone has a secret that tries
to tank them. Everyone has a truth that haunts the throat at
night. And we all wonder, is it normal?
Would they love me if they knew?
What would the moon and the stars say?
Nothing. They’ll never talk.

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