Three Syllables Describing Addiction

Durham: Bull City Press, 2018
On Amazon

Three Syllables Describing Addiction is a devastating, unforgettable account of the way the terrors and heart break of addiction can ramify through a family, through a community, through a nation. These new poems only confirm what many of us have known for years now, that Kate Daniels is one of our nation’s greatest poets of the destructive vagaries and enduring values of human attachment.” Alan Shapiro

“This sequence of poems describes a mother’s descent into Hell to save her son. What she finds is that she cannot save him — she can save only herself — and only by letting him go. This is the nightmare of America’s heroin epidemic, told succinctly, beautifully, every line exploring the depths of our national nightmare. Our young are eating themselves alive, and Kate Daniels bears witness.”  Michael Simms

“To call Three Syllables Describing Addiction a survival manual would not do justice to its challenging, complex depths. Nonetheless, the book—a breviary of testimonies and prayers describing addiction’s ‘closed loops / Or broken circuits’ of enslavement, despair, tested hope, endurance— offers solace to every person affected by an addict or by any form of addiction. “The aftermath,” Daniels writes, “is what’s at stake./The human flotsam captured in addiction’s filthy wake.” The word syllable derives from the Greek syllable ‘that which is held together; several sounds or letters taken together,’ i.e. ‘a taking together.’ Out of the ‘’flotsam’ and the “broken scraps /…the shredded /Edges cutting her inside every-/Where” by addiction’s implacable reach, Daniels bravely gathers her salvific syllables, shaping them into a new language, annealed by incurable illness and suffering, and acknowledging that “the things you love are still/Beautiful in the new dark/They live in now.”  Lisa Russ Spaar