My first poetry chapbook, published by Minnesota Writers' Publishing House and The Kraken Press, with illustrations by Randy Scholes. In the introduction, poet and editor Mike Finley writes: "What makes her commonplaces uncommon is the way she transmutes them with imagination, hunger, and love...Dacey's poems are always full, always female, ever on the threshold of reality, of her human limitation. As we read, we also step toward that threshold. This sensation of nearness defies intelligence or sensibility. This is the feeling she calls the swoon."
Published by Midwest Villages & Voices, with cover art by Elizabeth Erickson, this book of thirty-six poems continues an exploration of my personal and communal life as a woman and mother. Meridel Le Sueur writes on the dust jacket: "Here a woman poet speaks from the woman's experience, rich and direct, not imitating the patriarchal voice, speaking from her own erotic body of birthing, feeding as the earth nourishes, not in conflict or a reflection of the male world, but simply appearing in the meadow of her own weathers, in her own opulent skin. And the language rich as field flowers, abundant, hardy, sexual, unabashedly female with out sentiment or unnatural images, apology, decoration, shyness. A natural woman speaking at last."
A tribute to Maynard the dog, these poems were written over several years when Florence dog-sat for extended periods. They range from the humorous to reflective and are set in the Minnesota River Valley near Granite Falls, Minnesota.
Rock Worn by Water (Plainview Press, 2009)
"I don’t much like flowery poems that use nature as metaphor, nor overly didactic poems that blatantly lay out atrocities perpetrated on the land. But Chard Dacey is neither of those writers, and that’s what makes her poems so fine and interesting. She weaves her praise songs organically out of a deep knowledge of the Minnesota eco-system. She knows her land, her flowers, and her fauna so completely that the wilderness merges effortlessly with her poetic self. There’s no need or room for fancy flights in her plainspoken verse. She deals with the politics of destruction with equal subtlety through the simple juxtaposition of undemanding nature with the follies of insistent human stresses."
From a review by Marnie Mueller, posted on peacecorpsworldwide.org. Rock Worn by Water was nominated for the 2009 best poetry book by a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.
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Latest Poetry Collection
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In The Mercy Of Stone, a vast collection of poems spanning fifty years, I hear a voice as strong, sentient, and holy as stone...Florence Chard Dacey shows us how to become one with “the other,” whether it’s a family member, a stranger, a victim of rape, a waterfall, or a prairie. Speaking for the mothering heart of the universe, she embraces with "justice and mercy" all that she sees and learns and understands, and tells us we can live with both beauty and ruin, "thick light"" and shadow, in both "the entire blameless world" and "trapped on a ledge/above the whole/blasted planet.'" Even as she nears the end of her life, she asks herself, "Old woman, how much did you love?" and she finds herself still "stretched across/the planet like the veil of morning."
Freya Manfred, author of When I Was Young and Old
Florence’s words ground me in recognition of the immense gift of THIS time in THIS world, our feet on THIS ground, THIS blessed place. This ground that IS the landscape that thrills our days, this beloved prairie of grasses and trees, the breath of clouds, the green and hills of Ireland. Oh, how I love those Ireland poems, of the poet in Kilfenora who hasn’t a clue, lingering at the stone wall, talking to cows. And I love the mother poems, the brother poems, the poems rising of and for her children.
The words Florence wrote during our collaborations with In the Heart of the Beast Theatre have lived in my flesh for many years, yet reading them as part of this collection stunned me with their lasting relevance. Her naked warning “When We Forget the Water” has traveled with me since 1980, prodding me to continue, to go deeper, to confront the atrocities, inspiring work nationally and internationally of many people for the Water.
Sandy Spieler, Artist, lover of the Earth