Donna Pucciani’s third book of poetry explores the relationship of the human to the divine through the lives of the saints, ranging from the legendary St. Christopher and the ancient martyrs Lucy and Sebastian to the more modern Father Damien, the Leper-Priest, to perennial favorites St. Patrick and St. Francis of Assisi, and three Teresas: Therese of Lisieux (“the little”), Teresa of Avila (“the great”) and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. St. Anthony tires of finding lost items, a grandmother looks in vain for Therese’s promised “shower of roses,” and St. Lutgarde suffers from cold feet. St. Clare hallucinates on her deathbed; St. Monica prays for her ne’er-do-well son, Augustine; St. Helene searches for the true cross of Christ; Paul gets thrown off his horse; Jude visits an old folks’ home; and the faithful flock to the village church to observe the annual liquefication of the blood of St. Januarius. The poems pull the reader into a surrealistic world of supernatural whimsy in which the miraculous is an everyday experience. Pucciani’s poems are not “your mama’s” lives of the saints but rather meditations on the varieties of holiness espoused by these fascinating people. The poems are both spiritual and human, comic and serious. They challenge literate, discerning readers of any and all religions or none at all to think about things transcendent and to realize that sanctity comes only to those who are not afraid to be fully human.
cover photo by Peter A. Bostock