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Book Review :: Now These Three Remain by Sarah Dickenson Snyder

Now These Three Remain by Sarah Dickenson Snyder book cover image

Guest Post by Jennifer Martelli

Sarah Dickenson Snyder’s latest collection, Now These Three Remain, strikes the delicate balance of faith and doubt. Like the master carver in “Industry,” Dickenson Snyder ponders,

Maybe I am practicing for some god’s commandments
with chisel and mallet I tap across the smooth surface
of slate to unveil letters, carve words I can touch.

Sarah Dickenson Snyder uses the slash like a chisel in her three sections, “Un/Faith,” “Un/Hope,” “Un/Love.” This gives these Biblical words facets, as if carved in stone. The poems exist in these oppositions, these dimensions.

In “Ginger Roots,” the speaker tells us, “Most good things grow in darkness— / seeds, roots, a fetus.” The speaker’s conflict is, at times, rooted in trauma and healing. Coming from a place of religious doubt, the collection is also an account of sexual assault and sexual autonomy. The speaker remembers her assault, “not-breathing, those seconds / falling inside me like a rock in a pond.” In “Without Regret,” the older speaker, “chose my life over what was beginning / to grow.”

Sarah Dickenson Snyder’s whisper “Heal us, heal us,” resonates throughout Now These Three Remain, where “we all just want to make something / close to sacred while we’re here.”

Now These Three Remain by Sarah Dickenson Snyder. Lily Poetry Review Books, April 2023.

Reviewer Bio: Jennifer Martelli is the author of The Queen of Queens and My Tarantella, both named “Must Reads” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Poem-a-Day, and elsewhere. Martelli has received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She is co-poetry editor for MER. www.jennmartelli.com

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