WATER LESSONS: POEMS
"Beneath the obvious beauty of Lisa Dordal's poetry lies a subtle ferocity that threatens to undo the reader on every page of WATER LESSONS. 'Anyone can become / animal or a flicker of light' warns the speaker as she embarks on a journey of recovery: of the memories surrounding a mother's addiction and death; of a father's dementia, which softens him even as it steals him away; and of the speaker's own complicity in mid-century suburban oblivion, a complicity that makes both a mother's and a Black maid's miseries equally tragic. Dordal demands that we not only see the past, but that we step into its deceptively gentle tide, one that sweeps us back to the people, places, and eras that still haunt us. In these poems, no one is truly safe, no one is truly innocent, and no one is truly gone. WATER LESSONS teaches us that swimming against the current of remembrance is futile. We can only trust the water to hold us without drowning us, and to return us to some shore, even if where we land is not where we were first submerged."--Destiny O. Birdsong, author of Negotiations, longlisted for the 2021 PEN America Literary Awards
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Dordal holds a Master of Divinity and a Master of Fine Arts, both from Vanderbilt University, and teaches in the English Department at Vanderbilt. Her first full-length collection of poetry, MOSAIC OF THE DARK (Black Lawrence Press, 2018), was a finalist for the 2019 Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry. She is a Pushcart Prize and Best-of-the-Net nominee and the recipient of an Academy of American Poets University Prize, the Robert Watson Poetry Prize from the Greensboro Review, and the Betty Gabehart Prize from the Kentucky Women Writers Conference. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies including Best New Poets, New Ohio Review, The Sun, Narrative, RHINO, Ninth Letter, CALYX, The Greensboro Review, and Vinyl Poetry.