I write to celebrate Life and my experience of it.
Memoir from Marilène Phipps
Book review. Sunday, July 22nd
The poetry of ‘Unseen Worlds’
“Lightning struck the tall tree sheltering my father’s tomb in the garden of my childhood,” opens Marilène Phipps arresting, bewitching new memoir “Unseen Worlds: Adventures at the Crossroads of Vodou Spirits and Latter-day Saints’’ (Calumet), and the sentence holds in it the mystery, power, and poetry that unfolds. Phipps, a poet, painter, and writer… writes of her life in Haiti, of the deaths of her father, her brother (“the first gentle moon I knew”), her husband, Ali (when he dies of lung cancer she “lit a candle and howled under the swimming pool”). She writes of Catholicism, Islam, Vodou, of a tarantula in her crib, of the way death, “the great scandal of our lives,” does and does not end us. We are given a history of Haiti as well as the crumple and collapse in the aftermath of the earthquake in 2010. Phipps’s language is lush, sinuous, each paragraph holds poetry, and her “Unseen Worlds’’ is undeniably a memorable memoir.