Monday, April 08, 2013

Review of THE PHILOSOPHER’S DAUGHTER by Lori Desrosiers

Review of THE PHILOSOPHER’S DAUGHTER by Lori Desrosiers, salmonpoetry, Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland,, 79 pages, 2013

Review by Barbara Bialick

In The Philosopher’s Daughter, Lori Desrosiers writes that the mystery of her life, indeed her own creation, starts in “Paris 1950” with the subtlety of ideas exchanged between her parents: “Blanch eats crepes on the Ile de la Café/…Leonard studies philosophy/…I am only a thought.”

Thoughts versus action is a theme as she paints her parents’ conflicting personalities with memories, until finally she herself is in her 60s, around the age her father died, and now she is the teacher, the poet, pulling images from her life story. In “That Pomegranate Shine” she writes “I was the wrong kind of bride/more sweat than glisten,/more peach than pomegranate/…Ten years later, I emerged shivering/…standing with my children…”

She eventually becomes a type of philosopher herself, like her father was in “Big Words”: “The cancer took his language first/those beautiful big words used every day/In fact, when I was little he taught me words/like ‘symbolic’ and ‘essential’…I would learn a thousand big words/if they could bring him back.”

In contrast to her father, an author of books on metaphysics, “The city understood my mother/It was large and gritty, like her imagination/Escape to theater or opera always/just a cab-ride away…” Her father died of what she calls “star cancer”, a brain cancer, not long after they divorced.

She fears her mother’s death in “If, Mother…”: “When your tongue is quiet,/there will be no more stories/no more trips to 1930s Chicago,/no languid afternoons/on Margate beach/no Cape Cod Bay…” Also, no more Paris trip together, like “how we turned the wrong way/veered off the boulevard/how close that day/we came to death…”

Nowadays she claims “The World is Flat”—as when “a boy I know/drove off a cliff/following the GPS in his car./GPS systems think/the world is flat/no mountains, valleys or/boulders, no cliffs…”

Lori Desrosiers also published a chapbook, “Three Vanities”, Pudding House Press, 2009. Publisher of the “Naugatuck River Review” (narrative poetry), she has an MFA

From New England College in New Hampshire” and has been published in many literary journals. In 2010, she won the Greater Brockton Society for Poetry Award for “That Pomegranate Shine

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