counter on blogger

Pickle Me This

April 10, 2013

Glossolalia by Marita Dachsel

glossolalaiaMarita Dachsel is a friend, and I was already inclined to like her new book Glossolalia because I’ve got a thing for obscure historical figures/stories whose voices are resurrected via poetry. In Glossolalia, the stories belong to the 34 polygamous wives of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons, though Dachsel is careful to point out that her book is not meant to be a biography or a historical work. Rather, as Sharon McCartney explained with her Laura Ingalls Wilder poems, “the voices, the characters and the details are vehicles, a way to say what I want to say.”

Glossolalia is a curious, wonderful book, in which a “self-avowed agnostic feminist uses mid-nineteenth century Mormon America as a microcosm for… universal emotions…”. Through Smith’s wives, each one with her own name, point of view and distinct voice, Dachsel explores ideas about love, marriage, pregnancy, motherhood, jealousy, domesticity, sex, trust, and betrayal. While the poems themselves are united by their representation of the voices of Smith’s wives, their styles and approaches are remarkably diverse, some written with formality and great distance, others more ribald and contemporary in tone. Apart from a few (often negative) examples, there is no sense of connection between these women, the poems showing their experiences of the world to be remarkably disparate, complicating tidy ideas of sisterhood. Dachsel’s wives are less a chorus than a cacophony, a crowd of dissonant voices, each shouting to be heard above the others.

But hear them, we do. The wives each emerge as distinct, aware, embodied, and it is the smallness and closeness of poetry (as well as their poet’s talent) that brings them so to life.

2 thoughts on “Glossolalia by Marita Dachsel”

  1. alexis says:

    I am almost done this book and I am loving it!! I have wanted to read the book since Marita first told me about it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pre-Order my New Novel: Out October 27


Sign up for Pickle Me This: The Digest

Best of the blog delivered to your inbox each month! The Digest also includes news and updates about my creative projects and opportunities for you to work with me.

Stop Wondering about Blogging, and Build a Blog That’s Wonder-Full:

Get My New Free Download: 5 MORE Prompts to Bring Back Your Blogging Spark!

Photo Kerry Clare with her Laptop

My Books

The Doors
Twitter Pinterest Pinterest Good Reads RSS Post