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Poetry Canadian


by (author) Marita Dachsel

Anvil Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2013
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Recommended Grade
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2013
    List Price

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Finalist, Acorn-Plantos Award for People's Poetry

Glossolalia is an unflinching exploration of sisterhood, motherhood, and sexuality as told in a series of poetic monologues spoken by the thirty-four polygamous wives of Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In Marita Dachsel's second full-length collection, the self-avowed agnostic feminist uses mid-nineteenth century Mormon America as a microcosm for the universal emotions of love, jealousy, loneliness, pride, despair, and passion.

Glossolalia is an extraordinary, often funny, and deeply human examination of what it means to be a wife and a woman through the lens of religion and history.

Praise for Glossolalia:

Recommended Read, 49th Shelf

Edmonton Journal's Favourite Book List selection

BC Books for BC Schools Pick

"Glossolalia is a curious, wonderful book, in which a 'self-avowed agnostic feminist uses mid-nineteenth century Mormon America as a microcosm for... universal emotions... ' ... Dachsel's wives are less a chorus than a cacophony, a crowd of dissonant voices, each shouting to be heard above the others. ... But hear them, we do. The wives each emerge as distinct, aware, embodied, and it is the smallness and closeness of poetry (as well as their poet's talent) that brings them so to life." (Pickle Me This)

"Michael Ondaatje's Collected Works of Billy the Kid did it. Randall Maggs did it with Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems and now Marita Dachsel does it with Glossolalia. Dachsel so inhabits the characters and time of her story as to make it hyper real. ... Dachsel brings the same sort of vivid, intimate focus, you think you can hear the quiet breathing of these women. ... Glossolalia is simply riveting, it is hauntingly sad, it is a clear and articulate indictment of patriarchy and religion. ... If I had a rating system this book would get all my stars." (Michael Dennis' Poetry Blog)

"... a series of monologues from the thirty-four polygamous wives of Joseph Smith ... Through poems whose form varies as much as the personalities of the women, we're let in on a myriad of secrets and insights into sisterhood, motherhood and sexuality in mid-nineteenth century Mormon America. ... Avoiding sentimentality Dachsel gives us a haunting collection that illuminates lives that were behind-the-scenes until now. This book is a jewel-like union of unique voices. Together they create a stunning stained glass piece soldered together into a choir of glass and light." (Canadian Poetries)

About the author

Marita Dachsel is the author of Glossolalia, Eliza Roxcy Snow, and All Things Said & Done. Her poetry has been shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry and the ReLit Prize and has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies, including Best Canadian Poetry in English, 2011. Her play Initiation Trilogy was nominated for the Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding New Script. She is the 2013/2014 Artist-in-Residence at UVic's Centre for Studies in Religion and Society. After many years in Vancouver and Edmonton, she and her family now live in Victoria.

Marita Dachsel's profile page

Librarian Reviews


This is a one-of-a-kind book of poetry. Dachsel uses many different contemporary poetic forms, including visual and erasure poems, to create poems based on the imagined experience of 34 wives of Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Themes such as jealousy are explored and mentions of birthing and sexuality are integral to the poems. Although most of the terms used to reference body parts are technical (e.g., aureole) or archaic (e.g., quim), she also uses contemporary words (e.g., “It’s all so gross.”). An appendix includes lists of women known to be Smith’s wives and a useful set of explanatory notes.

Dachsel’s work has been shortlisted for both the ReLit Award and the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry.

Caution: Content could be considered offensive, possibly even blasphemous, by followers of Mormonism.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2013-2014.

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