“In The Darkened Temple, Mari L’Esperance enacts the process of defining a self out of fragments of cultural and personal history, the traumatic disintegration of that self, and its subsequent painful rebuilding: by turns narrative, chantlike, fractured, and lyric, these tender, terrifying, and frank poems fight their way into song.” —Jane Mead
“These stunning lyrics shine light on suffering. Across generations and across cultures, we follow intricate rituals of desire, of myth making, of mourning. Via corrosive wondering about a disappeared mother, we arrive ‘alone / at the gate of the unbearable.’ And yet these poems, vibrant and necessary, return us to ‘retrievable life,’ to essential human mysteries.” —Peggy Shumaker
“The Darkened Temple is not a typical first book; it is not the work of a young writer on the edge of becoming, not the expected first-book miscellany that often begins a poetry career; nor is it hampered by the author’s limitations in style and experience. Mari L’Esperance comes to us in her mature form.” —Wendy Taylor Carlisle
We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.
Graphic by Lynh Tran