DéLana R. A. Dameron searches for answers to spiritual quandaries in her first collection of poems, How God Ends Us, selected by Elizabeth Alexander as the fourth annual winner of the South Carolina Poetry Book Prize. Dameron’s poetry forms a lyrical conversation with an ominous and omnipotent deity, one who controls all matters of the living earth, including death and destruction. The poet’s acknowledgement of the breadth of this power under divine jurisdiction moves her by turns to anger, grief, celebration, and even joy. From personal to collective to imagined histories, Dameron’s poems explore essential, perennial questions emblemized by natural disasters, family struggles, racism, and the experiences of travel abroad. Though she reaches for conclusions that cannot be unveiled, her investigations exhibit the creative act of poetry as a source of consolation and resolution.
“What a refreshing range of vision DéLana Dameron shows in these splendid poems. Ever rich with the arresting image, ever graceful and yet refusing to look away from a suffering that calls grace into question—from the ‘assemblies of the shattered / in Harlem’ to the steady inevitability of how the flesh must fail us—these poems argue for witness as the only way of knowing—of being somehow grateful for—a world that is always leaving us, even as we ourselves must leave it.”—Carl Phillips, author of Riding Westward and The Tether
“The poems in How God Ends Us are intensely spiritual and address an all-knowing God whose power must be acknowledged and accepted, if not always understood. The power resides in the mystery…. Death haunts the poems in this fine collection, but it never dominates. There is much celebration that provides a kind of balance against inevitable loss.”—Charleston Post & Courier