TESTIMONIES TO HAPPINESS AND HORROR
Poet Marilyn Chandler McEntyre explores ordinary life,
intimate relationships, and shared sorrows in a complex time.
The Light at the Edge, Marilyn Chandler McEntyres newest published collection of poems, testifies to the possibility of real happiness in the midst of busyness, complicated daily obligations, and deep anxieties. The poems surprise with combined emotionshumor and horror, amusement and sorrow, delight and a sense of loss. The poet dares to be happy, celebrating family and marriage, work and play, the joys of life and love; however she will not deny, and her poems face head-on, the horror and shame of whats going dreadfully amiss.
The five sections of the book focus loosely on places, encounters, and events where moments of seeing occurred to the poetwhere the frame shifted, a new light fell, and some reminder came that even the hardest things occur in a context where love is present. Many of the poems deal with the familiar and the ordinarywork life, family rites and occasions, or just doing laundryrecognizing the gift of such times and relationships.
Other poems, specifically those in the section titled Loving the Enemy, chronicle a journey of anger, resistance, and anguish over the warmaking in Iraq that has involved us all in a project whose human cost is staggering. The poet, a teacher at a Christian college, acknowledges that people are so deeply divided on such axiomatic levels that its hard even to have conversations that might lead to understanding. But its even harder for a concerned citizen to shun such issues. She must take a stand, and reading these poems, we must also.
The Light at the Edge is unabashedly personal, but in a way that invites reflections of moments we all receive now and then, reminding us there is, even in the midst of darkness, reason to rejoice. They show us moments when the veil lifts, light breaks through, and the ordinary is dignified into transcendence.
About the Author
Marilyn Chandler McEntyre is Professor of English at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. She has received numerous awards, grants, and fellowships for her teaching and her writing, and is widely published as both a poet and a literary scholar. Her published books include Dwelling in the Text: Houses in American Fiction (University of California Press); A Healing Art: Regeneration Through Autobiography (Garland Press); In Quiet Light: Poems on Vermeer's Women, and Drawn to the Light: Poems on Rembrandt's Religious Paintings (Eerdmans).