“Stunning. Just stunning. I want to say Dayna Patterson is our latter-day May Swenson. I want to say this is the book they will read to know where the Mormons went. Thanks to Dayna for the astonishing talent and clear-sighted courage that created these poems. This is a book to be held close and treasured.” —Joanna Brooks, author, The Book of Mormon Girl; Associate Vice President of Faculty Advancement, San Diego State University
“Feeling the warm home of Mormonism turn chill and even deadly is experienced by many. But only a poet of the caliber of Dayna Patterson can bring that death to life, illuminate and stand witness to a loss ever present as a ‘choir that keeps singing after the beautiful organ fails.’ This book will resonate deeply with many post-Mormons and with others who want a front row seat to the drama of what happens to commitment when ‘conscience needles’ and ‘better angels prick.’” —Carol Lynn Pearson, author of Goodbye, I Love You; recipient of the Association for Mormon Letters Lifetime Achievement Award
“Patterson’s first full-length collection of poems is a history, a feminist revolt, and a personal unraveling of Mormonism, ancestors, family, and identity. These poems articulate conflict, secret narratives, homage, and questions to those long past who will never respond. From granddaughter to missionary to mother and poet, Patterson gives us poems that enchant, reveal, and document both myth and truth.” —Trish Hopkinson, author of Footnote; recipient of awards from the Utah State Poetry Society and Utah Arts Festival
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If Mother Braids a Waterfall
In her debut collection of poetry and lyric essay, Patterson grapples with a patriarchal and polygamous heritage. After learning about her mother’s bisexuality, Patterson befriends doubt while simultaneously feeling the urge to unearth a feminist theology, one that envisions God the Mother taking pride of place at the banquet table.
Titania in Yellow
In this cluster of poems, Titania muscles down “circlets of searing gold,” crowning herself as she returns to her own power. ... This book of poems is bread and salt and fang, nourishing and sharp, littered with mustard seed and spotted wings, everything steely draped in gossamer threads.
Purchase Titania in Yellow and If Mother Braids a Waterfall together.
“‘I’m Mormon the way stars—rubbed out at noon … still burn’: Dayna Patterson’s bold, linguistically pyrotechnic and terribly moving testament to faith renounced and still omnipresent reclaims matriarchy and mitochondrial inheritance, making a chant from the names of Brigham Young’s polygamous wives, studying hard for belief through intimate epistolaries to ancestors in a past where polygamy is ‘familiar as summer / sweat.’ ‘The Mormons are coming,’ Patterson declares, and she interrogates that ancestral, theological, and gendered onslaught brilliantly through poems of fierce reinvention and homage: ‘Our orthodoxy/changed, etched over, effaced//by our palimpsestuous selves.’” —Bruce Beasley, author of All Soul Parts Returned; recipient of Colorado Prize for Poetry; professor of English at Western Washington University
“If Mormon art is an oxymoron, perhaps orthodoxy is to blame, an all too sureness in that sense of rightness of one’s glorious opinions and beliefs. Dayna Patterson’s book of poems, on the other hand, is exactly the opposite to such claims and strictures. Hers are heresies, necessary her-say, a collection of her-ms to be sung and passed down through a poly-perverse matrilineal. Whether you are LDS or not, you’ll feel an even deeper danger and courage that spiritual questions and visions demand, a hard-won logos.” —Timothy Liu, author of Of Thee I Sing; recipient of the PEN Open Book Margins Award and the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Faber First Book Award
A Few Reviews of If Mother Braids a Waterfall
Deborah Bacharach, Mom Egg Review.
Rachel Rueckert, Columbia Journal.
Sarah Law, Amethyst Review.
Star Coulbrooke, Sugar House Review.
Nancy Ross, Exponent II Magazine.