Four Testimonies

Louisiana State University Press (1998)
Southern Messenger Series, Dave Smith, editor
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“The poems in Four Testimonies, Kate Daniels’ extraordinary new collection, are set on the threshold of the tragic and the everyday. Whether her subject is man-made or natural catastrophe, the terrors of history or the struggles of private life, Daniels irradiates with hard-won, often unbearable, but always artful clarity the horrible contingencies of human life. This is a beautiful, heart-wrenching book whose beauty is part and parcel of its ferocious power.” Alan Shapiro

“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.”  Kirkus Reviews (1998)

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