We are grateful to VIDA and to poet Arisa White for a brilliant review of Piper Daniels’s Ladies Lazarus (TS 2018), which simultaneously blends an interview with the author.
“Ladies Lazarus is a work of creative nonfiction that offers the experience of poetry to me,” White says.
Language that transports you to a third space, a place where meanings are reconfigured, purged, exhausted, interrogated, mutated to show its multiplicities, where the written word is given new life. Ladies Lazarus has poet’s blood running through it….
Lady Lazarus languages with a biblical, occultic, lyrical, journalistic syntax; Daniels writes about manic breaks, suicidal attempts, growing up churched, the murder of two girls near to her hometown, rape culture, toxic masculinity, and the body sickness that comes from low dosages of self-contempt daily. Daniels isn’t afraid to disobey the expectations of standard paragraphs; she employs paratactic arrangements that require the reader to lean into that nothingness occupied by asterisks, to enter one’s body as the conjunctive meat….
[It] is an unapologetic work, so bitch and bad-ass, in the ways it uses beauty as a creative principle and transgressive force. It is the beauty that allows us to transform our shames into something usable, necessary to our now, that welcomes another way to hold ourselves with love and forgiveness. Daniels makes me proud to be a poet during these times, knowing there are other queer women out there doing lazarus work for girls and women everywhere.