“If at any point in this wildly inventive project you think Dayna Patterson’s ambition and achievement have been exhausted, you’ll be wrong.   This book keeps demanding more of itself, and giving its readers more.  A brilliant interrogation of Shakespeare’s female characters (teach this book in a Shakespeare seminar!), it becomes (equally) audacious and original in its obliquely autobiographical excavation of Patterson’s own  Mormon upbringing and polygamous ancestry.  “Self-Portrait as Cordelia, Mormon Polygamous Wife” is just one of more than twenty self-portraits in which Patterson’s life collides with the lives of Shakespeare’s women.  A mother vanishes in childhood and returns years later as a different kind of “plural wife”: “My mother and her now/wife, at the witching hour, they soothed me.”  Shakespeare’s women, and Patterson and her women, speak, and speak again, each speaking richer and more formally inventive than the previous.  To draw from Pattersonwonderful coinages, this collection outsymphonies; it’s just plain humwonder.” 

Bruce Beasley, author of Prayershreds; recipient of Colorado Prize for Poetry; professor of English at Western Washington University

“‘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