What does it mean to be a human being in a culture of war and violence? In this collection the secret life of everyday objects and the “Everyday Shames” of ordinary life reveal how a person can take possession of oneself.
In his third full-length collection, Everyday Objects, Edward A. Dougherty places wonderful food for thought on our plates. He spoons out wonderful imagery, knives into the truths of topics such as war, serves up wonderful writing on tenderness for those he loves, allows both sunlight and darkness to enter our kitchens in life. Savor and serve it to yourself for dessert.”
–Martha Deborah Hall, poet and author of fourteen chapbooks and books of poetry, including Inside Out, Heading Toward Silver Dust, Weight of Light, and Stalked in Connecticut
Edward Dougherty writes life on the knife-edge, as if antinomies of birth and death, innocence and complicity, time and transcendence were next-door neighbors. He blesses the arrival of a niece even as he rues the start of another war. In Hiroshima, that “symbol-city thick with history,” he celebrates–with telling irony–“our immaterial radiance.” Out of the ashes of everyday come lessons in eternity. An adolescent collection of beer cans becomes “those empty halls containing secret possibilities.” From him we learn the normalcy of terror and nuclear obliteration. “Who can stand,” he asks, “to live in such a mansion of dilemma?” The answer, of course, is every one of us, because we must. The witness of Dougherty’s book is harsh but not unrelieved. Everyday Objects also teaches transfiguration: “In the heart of each thing / is its opposite. A cross / can be crafted from manger-wood, a saint / out of any one of us.” So may it always be.
–Lee Rossi, poet and author of Wheelchair Samauri, Ghost Diary, and Beyond Rescue
Edward A. Dougherty, Professor of English at Corning Community College, was given the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activity. He authored two collections, Pilgrimage to a Gingko Tree, and Part Darkness, Part Breath. His poems have been nominated for the Pushcart prize and published internationally.