Candice Louisa Daquin Reviews the Myths of Girlhood

Christine Ray is an extremely rare creature, seemingly transplanted from another age and time, in that she knows absolutely no bounds and will persevere through any obstacle and has the passion of a seventeenth-century bard in her poetic composition and expression.

In today’s saturated world of online bloggers most of us have read competent even exciting authors but few stay with us, underneath the skin. To achieve that, a writer must have captured the moon and control the tides. We live in an impermanent world where we change our fascinations as often as our clothing, loyalty, and fidelity are almost dead. For a writer to clamber from obscurity and retain our fascination seems a heroic feat, more often we have moments of desire for a certain writer and they are forgotten as the next one comes along. Commitment to their art may ensure a writer is briefly remembered again if they keep producing but readership is terribly fickle, no more so than online in the bloggers universe. 

Christine Ray even has a memorable name, but she’s far more than just a female poet writing like so many others, on WordPress and other sites, building her following. Ray is a creator, at once a beautiful mess of a woman and a powerhouse, dynamic in a very contradictory way, on the one hand, due to chronic health blights, she has genuinely struggled both physically and mentally, but despite this, or should I say, through this, she has defied the modern authors dilemma of being one of many on a continuum, and become a standout writer who you will remember and need to read.

I can’t say this happens often these days, most of my favorite poets are 200 years old, they lived in a time when the sheer pain of existing meant a tragic will lent their writing a poignancy you were unable to shake. In today’s fattened world I don’t see that level of intensity transmuted into writing, more often there are vain attempts to mimic those of old or replicate the sordid suffering of our idols and it is usually just that, a pale imitation. 

On so many levels, Ray is an original. Her work brands the reader with charged, unapologetic, stark and often exquisitely painful memories that don’t lose their potency overnight. The first few times I read a piece by Ray I didn’t continue through others blogs, I paused and thought about what her work made me feel, and that emotion stayed with me all day. She’s got that impossible quality that people would donate their soul to inherit, it’s not something you can learn in graduate school, it’s a pulse underneath the skin that few possess and it marks her as a serious contender for being unforgettable.

Having a book of Ray’s work in my collection excites me, her work leaves me like an addict, wanting more, it’s that simple and this, in a day when few authors can come close to achieving that alluring lasting quality. We live in a world that in many ways, has lost the fantastical and the unknown. We can get answers almost immediately, nothing is mysterious anymore, and therefore, when a writer can leave us breathless and disturbed, we cleave to them like shelter from an otherwise barren landscape. Such is the modern art world, few strike us through the heart or possess the raw talent to remain relevant and pulsating when it’s hard enough finding time to read poetry and locate its worth in our lives. Many who feel broken and have reasons for self-destruction, cannot weld the self-possession it takes to give voice to an unacceptable feeling or experience, yet Ray owns it with her wordsmiths alacrity she displays torment and survives it, bringing hope to burning wounds through the grace of her intelligent observations, pushing them from her deepest recess with no intention of going back.

Ray brings back my love of poetry, she throws it into an empty room and it proliferates, sometimes frighteningly, until it’s halfway down my throat and I only want more. A once in a lifetime author will cause you to become obsessive, you’ll never truly get enough, and you’ll forget your other lovers. That’s how I feel upon reading Ray’s work and I am certain of one thing, she’s only going to keep surprising us, because despite everything, she lives for her art, and it shows, in the sheer force of her will to write it out, and touch us with her fire. She alone can create a cage, set a stage for madness, tattoo a feeling, gut an emotion or twist my psyche with an uncanny awareness of what makes us tick. If we know everything then the only thing left is what we make of the fallout, and Ray is the mistress of revealing what lies beneath us. 

In this ability to represent our deepest emotions, Ray reminds me of the classical poets whom we adored and emulated, she is the original from which we follow and yet, she is desperately relevant to today, because she inhabits the now with the tongue of yesterday. This first published collection is an exquisite rendering of Ray’s kaleidoscope of work themed around mental angst, PTSD and the unbearable lightness of being, cleaved from her chest cavity. She wields her deft needle, threading gorgeous imagery, ghosts, voids, screams, immeasurable psychological depths and carved beauty in one breathless gathering of work. Read her. Want her. Need her. 

The Myths of Girlhood is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble Online, and Book Depository

Candice Louisa Daquin’s own life, traveling from her native France, via England, Canada and finally the US, has brought a myriad of experiences that others have often been able to tap into via her writing. A collection of lives really, and with this, she tries to weave greater meaning through poetry and touch those who experience similar questions, doubts, and hopes. Surely this is what writing attempts in its very human form?

Daquin’s themes include feminism in its complex, everyday form, and the experience of being a woman, a gay woman, a bi-racial woman, a bi-cultural woman and finally, a Jewish woman of Egyptian extraction (Mizrahi) and how this sits with the world’s current revolt between the dominant faiths.

You can read more of her writing at The Feathered Sleep.

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