In this new work, Sudbury’s Helen Marie Casey tackles an enigmatic Massachusetts historical figure, Mary Dyer, through twenty powerful poems.
Dyer was a wife, mother, Quaker, and martyr. Hanged by Puritans as a heretic, she could have avoided death without recanting her beliefs. So interesting questions arise: What is the nature of the true believer? What happens when state and religion, public policy and deeply-held belief, conflict? When women abandon their prescribed roles? Implications for the 21st Century abound.
Relevance aside, these prize-winning poems are good. They’re thought-provoking, but never obscure. Read aloud, they sound wonderful. They’re sensuous, with marvelous images: at the gallows, the noose is “about to gnaw/her soft, white throat.” History becomes real through celebration of the familiar: “Seagulls. Sandpipers. Plovers. Salt froth. Fog swallows the waves/everything but sound.”
Casey makes our shadowy 17th Century forebears both real and fascinating. These are poems for all of us, poetry-lovers and poetry-avoiders alike, and they strike at the heart.
--Anita Kurth, "The Book Shelf," North Shore Living