07 - Femme au chapeau by Rachel Dacus Oct 2, 2008 23:26:24 GMT 2
Post by shayepoet on Oct 2, 2008 23:26:24 GMT 2
Femme au chapeau
"Rachel Dacus’ exceptional imagination extends to such subjects as
foreign cities, the tenacity of the immigrant memory, ethnic and
religious loyalties and divisions, art and its echoes in consciousness,
and the writer’s life approached from ingenious angles. This is a book
to relish for such insights, by a poet clearly up for the ride,
and not afraid of the risks.”
Portrait of Lady with Red Flowers
– after a painting of his wife by Matisse, 1905
Her portrait stare is stark as the silver swords
they dashed beneath as they left the altar. Blurred,
the unfolded hands want to reach toward
the viewer. After the wedding he painted her
just once, in this ladder-back chair,
her shoulders unwarmed by the splashy red blooms
of her crepe dress. Her husband’s green eyes spared
her nothing, but she would learn to assume
no space, to be concave, to give
way to taunts and fears, to sit or stand
still as moss and ignore the bluster. To live
in the canvas weave, shaded by his hand,
hardening in layers of turpentine and oil.
Never to be framed, yet almost unspoiled.
—also appears at Poet's Corner - Fieralingue
Raves and reviews for Femme au Chapeau:
"Surprising in subject matter, surprising in diction and word choices, surprising in her use of form and formal elements, Rachel Dacus has found her rhythm and stride in this fine collection. Molly Peacock said in Poetry (July/August 2005) that "it's wrong to think of the sonnet as a 'container' or prison; instead it is a 'skeleton,' which allows something to live and move." Dacus' loose nonce sonnets not only live and move, they get up and boogie. And we, her readers, are out there on the dance floor with her; there is not a dull moment in any of these poems. Deeply moving, always surprising, these are poems you will want to return to, again and again."
—Barbara Crooker, Smartish Pace: A Poetry Review
“Rachel Dacus has a talent for writing music into our language and her new book, Femme au chapeau, showcases Dacus’ ability to bring us into her song. Whether we’re in the kitchen making apple pie or singing in the Pandaleshwar Caves, we are in the lyric of the poem, suspended in a blazing new ocean, and Dacus’ enthusiasm for writing stays with us and here, we all belong.”
—Kelli Russell Agodon
"Her palette is not of paint, but of sound, and she is in control of her rhyme and meter, her cadence and syncopation, her assonance and consonance. This is a poetry collection that is not embarrassed to be poetic. To read a Rachel Dacus poem is to look at a canvas that has been painted and layered and scraped and painted and glazed, each stroke, each color meant to vibrate on its own and in relation to what is next to it. These are poems that have been built, one layer at a time, the time to let the paint dry allowed before the application of what comes next, until the effect has been assembled.
...It's a lovely, meditative collection by a very intelligent and thoughtful craftsperson. It is also a collection about becoming and about self-agency. A very smart read."
—Laura McCullough, Small Spiral Notebook
“In her latest collection of poetry, Rachel Dacus ravels and unravels the rich uncertainties of life. Her poems, strange but startlingly familiar, seize and hold the reader. In her concise and often contemplative mode, we sense the miracle of time without end. She is honestly engaged in life, her heart big enough, her eyes keen enough, she ‘...delicately scans/ a stream of images…air words, scent sentences revealing the earth’s divine underside.’ Dacus is a sure and talented poet. Her rhymes flow skillfully past, almost mute, but they are beautifully imbedded in the body of the poem. Her clear-sighted tenderness avoids sentimentality but at the same time allows her wild imagination free rein.”
"Over and over again, these poems bring us into tight focus on the things we walk past every day but don’t see: the hummingbird pausing on a branch, the single perfect apple in a litter of windfalls, or the daily tasks that women perform unnoticed as they “Scrub the crud from crevices/…Neaten the chaos of the night/and bake a loaf of innocence.”
...Throughout this excellent collection, Dacus brings a sharp and humane eye to the world around her and within her, and allows her readers “To stand together/ in the light that streams/ from a hidden source in this world.”
—LouAnn Muhm, Her Circle E-Zine
“The chief strength of these impressive poems lies in their unsentimental candor, their observant eye, and their arresting and vivid imagery. The best among them come alive as scenes from several complex lives movingly conveyed. Rachel Dacus’ exceptional imagination extends to such subjects as foreign cities, the tenacity of the immigrant memory, ethnic and religious loyalties and divisions, art and its echoes in consciousness, and the writer’s life approached from ingenious angles. This is a book to relish for such insights, by a poet clearly up for the ride, and not afraid of the risks.”
About the author:
Rachel Dacus was born in Buffalo, New York, and grew up in the southern California town of San Pedro. She majored in English, French Literature and counterculture at U.C. Berkeley during the interesting 1960s. Her poetry collections are Another Circle of Delight (Small Poetry Press), Femme au Chapeau (David Robert Books) and Earth Lessons (Bellowing Ark
Press). She also has a poetry CD, A God You Can Dance. Her poetry appears in the anthologies Ravishing DisUnities: Real Ghazals in English and Letters to the World: Poems from the Wom-Po Listserv, and is forthcoming in Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose About Alzheimer’s Disease (Kent State University Press). Her prose is featured in an anthology of travel essays: Italy, A Love Story (Seal Press, 2005). She serves as Contributing Editor for Poetry at Umbrella and is on the staff of the Alsop Review's workshop Gazebo. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
ISBN 1932339825, 84 pages, $17.00
David Robert Books, 2005
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