Double Identity

Double Identity CoverIn Double Identity Allison Joseph achieves an astonishing multiplicity of voices: some the preacher/teacher poet, some the enraged and engaged citizen, some the erotic lover both committed and unbound. These voices seem deceptive because they can sound simplistic on first reading, but are far from it. When one realizes that they appear in such contrary manner and contexts, “identity” within them is more than doubled. If we associate formal verse with Frost’s often-quoted “running in harness,” Joseph achieves something most unexpected within the very tightness of her formalism. We discover that stanzas, lines (with often breath-taking enjambment), and rhyme set the verse running and transform it into something wild, cutting free the very harness form means to contain. Double Identity delivers the mystery poetry ought to command, and commands utmost respect for the poet’s mastery of form.

–Adrian Koesters, author of Many Parishes