Review #10: ‘Chapel of Inadvertent Joy’ by Jeffrey McDaniel

  • PUBLISHED BY: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013
  • REVIEW BY: Timothy Liu

Chapel of Inadvertent Joy - Jeffrey McDaniel

What’s the fun in reviewing books of poems if you can’t on occasion review a dear old friend whom you’ve known for nearly twenty years—well hello Jeffrey McDaniel, whose intensely surreal comedic tragedy-infused poems shock us awake both on the page and on the stage, how in his latest, our midlife cuckold insists on inadvertent devotional joy despite inevitable decline of body and mind and all other indissoluble relationships, only in his gladiatorial arena, humor is neither the class-clown’s shield nor the addict’s resentful spear, No!, but rather, what we witness is a modest grace at work, a serenity by slow accretion that could only have come—at last—one poem at a time.

Disclosures: Don’t read this book if you are engaged to be married; read it only after you have filed for divorce.

Favorites: “Happy Marriage”; “Keeper of the Light”; “Interview with Cuckold”; “Middle Age.”

Read McDaniel’s “Fifty-Fifty Ball” at Verse Daily.