FOUR TESTIMONIES by Kate Daniels

FOUR TESTIMONIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Daniels' third collection ambitiously links the joys of her own domesticity to the testimonies of others less fortunate: Each of the poetic sequences derives its controlling spirit from the first, a meditative biography of Simone Weil, whose political asceticism is posed against the ""inhuman vision"" of the aesthete and photographer Atget, who lived in prewar Paris at the same time as the saintly Weil. Though Daniels stacks the deck against Atget's bourgeois formalism (with its ""ghosts of godless gluttony""), she ends her longest section with a formally stunning gloss (""Dialogue/Epilogue') on the previous poetic dialectic. Daniels also gives voice to three survivors of the 1989 earthquake in California whose tragic near-death experiences bring them closer to God in differing ways. The third sequence, ""The Smash-Up,"" smartly moves from the sociological to the mythopoetic as a divorced mother laments her married daughter's abusive marriage, and eventually confronts her own culpability. Daniels's final section celebrates her often conflicting roles as mother, wife, and poet, and though she whines a bit too much about her ""postpartum/poet-on-pause"" identity-and anxiety about tenure!-she also bears witness in a number of poems to God's presence in ordinary life.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
Page count: 100pp
Publisher: Louisiana State Univ.