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Doe Songs

Peepal Tree Press, 2018

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Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné’s Doe Songs (2018), reviewed by JENNIFER RAHIM.

Doe Songs, Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné’s debut collection, is not a book to be read and digested in one sitting. The poems invite rumination and stretch the reader at all levels of heart and imagination – the surest signs that one has encountered a poet of significant power – and Boodoo-Fortuné has only just begun to exercise hers.

The themes are familiar in that they largely belong to the broad canvas of concerns with the labyrinthine world familial relationships, mothers and mothering, daughters and parents, the intricacies of love, the relationship to place, the natural and spirit worlds. Their treatment, however, is far from commonplace. In fact, there is an unforced originality about this poet.

Among the most powerful poems are those that engage family and love. Boodoo-Fortuné does not spare us their difficulties. She shuns romanticism and bravely confronts the sometimes harsh realities of our imperfect human garden. A mature wisdom informs lines that refrain from easy didacticism while remaining soberly engaged with human weakness and the need to garner strategies for healthy flourishing.

Read full review here:

Primal Civilisation– On Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné’s Doe Songs


The difficult beauty of Danielle’s work resides as much in the texture of the words, as in the images they conjure, and each seem to threaten —though they never overwhelm— each other. Beauty remains, and resides alongside the commonplaceness of the grim, the wild. Boodoo-Fortuné’s sense of beauty, her aesthetic, is always feral without any undue morbidity or undue simplification of the Wild into gore and ferocity. Nor is it used as a conceit of some faux-radicalism. Where images are grim or there is some element of gore, these are organic, these are part of the world, and part of the Word that gives birth to and is indeed, the World. And because they are mundane, because she succeeds in getting us to accept this as not just her world, but ours, the beauty of the poems leap out at us, and surprise us even as they trouble us:

it was you who broke my heart
that night, you with your small hands
made for holding on too long.
You didn’t even make a sound
when, startled by its aloneness,
the fawn thrashed and split
its skull on the kitchen floor. (‘Doe’, 11)

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Family Trees and Other Dark Woods:
A Review of Doe Songs by Paul Blake

for Brittle Star Magazine

Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné is one of those remarkably vivid and talented poets with whom the Caribbean graces us so often, and so delightfully. We are fortunate to be living at a time when the richness and diversity of English-language poetry is so great, with new voices like Boodoo-Fortuné offering us perspectives and experiences that we might not, in an earlier time, have been able to hear and learn from.

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Read Poems Here:

Five Songs for Petra

Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters

Boa Gravida

Montreal International Poetry Prize, 2017

Petitioning the Patron Saint of Childbirth


Water Rushes Like Memory

Small Axe Salon

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