Messer writes with a sureness that sounds not so much like intellectual conviction as the simple statement of bone and flesh. He has lived all these lives and can speak of them naturally as he breathes, and with the same pain and joy. —Marianna Hoffer, Ohioanna Quarterly
The concept of family is important to this author. ‘There is so much violence, particularly against women and children. I wanted to promote a feeling of solidarity within families and for the victims of violence, who are often stigmatized. Murder definitely does not fit in with the Great American Dream.’—Bonnie Blankinship, The Monitor
These poems, written from lived experience, speak for the survivors of personal violence. The pain inflicted on so many families in our violent age has seldom been faced with such unflinching determination to depict it honestly and wrest from it an acceptance of suffering based on a full, active and meaningful view of life. Does anyone escape suffering? No, that is why those who survive and go on to a new acceptance of life, reach out to those who are for the present victims. Tragedy teaches what intuition always whispers: there is a realm in which we are all present to each other; we are One in the deep heart’s core. We mourn those who die, and we move on through the knowledge that what has happened to them, no matter how brutal or tragic, does not define them—or us. Our spirits and our souls tell us who we are and give our lives their meaning.
“Cardona-Hine is far more tuned to silence than Eliot; there are no phases to his theology. He offers no disciplines, nor even Zen vacancies; he offers arrivals . . . This gentle poet has little to do with the hysterical attenuated surrealism which has in recent years dominated the better little magazines. Or with archetypes of the Great Mother or other theorizing . . . It is understandable that poets want to move out into the universe, to dream of being moles, to sink into mineral veins, to make wild dissociated images that dissolve the self. But Cardona-Hine preserves the sense of human self-hood, human wonder, adventure.”–Benjamin Saltzman in Kayak reviewing Words On Paper.