Poetic conversations with a God whose omnipotence brings both peace and uncertainty
DéLana R. A. Dameron searches for answers to spiritual quandaries in her first collection of poems, How God Ends Us, selected by Elizabeth Alexander as the fourth annual winner of the South Carolina Poetry Book Prize. Dameron's poetry forms a lyrical conversation with an ominous and omnipotent deity, one who controls all matters of the living earth, including death and destruction. The poet's acknowledgement of the breadth of this power under divine jurisdiction moves her by turns to anger, grief, celebration, and even joy. From personal to collective to imagined histories, Dameron's poems explore essential, perennial questions emblemized by natural disasters, family struggles, racism, and the experiences of travel abroad. Though she reaches for conclusions that cannot be unveiled, her investigations exhibit the creative act of poetry as a source of consolation and resolution.
DéLana R. A. Dameron holds a B.A. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has a strong interest in the intersections of history and literature. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, PMS: PoemMemoirStory, 42opus, storySouth, Pembroke Magazine, and Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. She has received fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation and Soul Mountain and is a member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective. Dameron, a native of Columbia, South Carolina, currently resides in New York City.
"What a refreshing range of vision DéLana Dameron shows in these splendid poems. Ever rich with the arresting image, ever graceful and yet refusing to look away from a suffering that calls grace into question—from the 'assemblies of the shattered / in Harlem' to the steady inevitability of how the flesh must fail us—these poems argue for witness as the only way of knowing—of being somehow grateful for—a world that is always leaving us, even as we ourselves must leave it."—Carl Phillips, author of Riding Westward and The Tether
"How God Ends Us is the luminous debut of a poet who helps us shape the geometrics of sudden change that are too much with us. The observations the poet makes in this collection are of the wanderer pondering the persistent question that lives in many of us of why things come to be and why they cease."—Afaa Michael Weaver, author of The Plum Flower Dance and The Ten Lights of God
"The poems in How God Ends Us are intensely spiritual and address an all-knowing God whose power must be acknowledged and accepted, if not always understood. The power resides in the mystery….
Death haunts the poems in this fine collection, but it never dominates. There is much celebration that provides a kind of balance against inevitable loss."—Charleston Post & Courier