Review: Candidates for Sainthood and Other Sinners

Review: Candidates for Sainthood and Other Sinners

Poems by Don Cellini

Mayapple Press

As the title suggests, this is not your typical foray into the realm of church and saints. It opens with a prose poem introducing an unlikely preacher, then jaunts out on a far reaching tour, finding in each place a moment or two so striking, a few well chosen words fill the page. Don’s vivid account of Haitian mothers’ preparation of sun baked dirt cookies, the only thing they have to feed their children is heart wrenching. “Where are the / guardian angels / to prevent this?” he asks, not as an accusation but as a plea. So it seems fitting this book came out in 2013, the same year the papacy changed. This new Pope, Francis, might well admire the work this book wrestles with. The community of it. How it offers finely crafted moments to both English and Spanish speakers, how it champions the poor, the weary, downtrodden, how it offers a few glimmers of love in a largely dark, moonless sky. The book revisits the unlikely preacher in the final poem, explaining how the list of
his good deeds grew long, and then, after his passing, “they began to forget. And finally the did.” While good deeds may be forgotten, the voice here will stay with you like a good friend.

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