Mary Dyer’s Hymn and Other Quaker Poems

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Stanford Searl’s Mary Dyer’s Hymn and Other Quaker Poems weaves a fascinating, expressive account that is representative of the ill-fated history of the Quakers in the United States. The verses particularly focus on the Quaker experiences of those living in and around Boston, Massachusetts.

So often, the serenity and faithfulness of the Quaker community are brought to the forefront, with many other details falling by the wayside. Searl expands on this often romanticized past through the use of graphic, sympathetic language to convey a history filled with persecution and suffering. For instance, in an excerpt from one piece Searl vividly expresses, “Sanctified by God and the New Testament / righteous Puritans came to kill and destroy / purging the bodies and souls of Narragansetts, / burning an entire Pequot village, / stripping, whipping and hanging Quakers, / scourging the Massachusetts wilderness / of native people as if they were wolves, / exterminated for bounty.” Through passages such as this, readers obtain a much more informed and accurate summary of the history of the Quaker community. Moreover, Searl pairs his verses with several quotes by other individuals, including writers and musicians, that compliment the tone and intention of Mary Dyer’s Hymn and Other Quaker Poems.

Piece after piece, Stanford Searl’s words move beyond striking and commanding to truly capture the strength of a community of people. From thoughtful and genuine to poignant and authoritative, the verses in Mary Dyer’s Hymn and Other Quaker Poems convey a world and history so often overlooked and concealed from the secular world. Readers will walk away with a far more comprehensive and edifying understanding of the Quaker community in Massachusetts.

In various sections Searl shares explanatory insights that enlighten those unfamiliar with Quaker customs and behaviors. For instance, Searl states, “Because Quakers typically don’t sing / at all it may seem absurd / that I, a Quaker poet, / search for suitable tunes.” These subtle tidbits of information provide invaluable insights into a predominately private community.

The accessibility of the material makes it ideal reading for all age groups, although the violent context encourages educated guidance for younger readers seeking to sincerely grasp the information presented. Moreover, those relatively uninformed as to the history of Quakers in the United States will appreciate the instructive, fluent approach Searl applies. Those well-informed about Quaker history will equally appreciate Searl’s work for the insight and care with which the author addresses prominent Quaker leaders such as William Robinson and Colonel Shaw.

Stanford Searl’s thoughtful and candid representations throughout the work earn this piece a resounding 4 stars. Readers will enthusiastically proclaim the wealth of material shared within Mary Dyer’s Hymn and Other Quaker Poems and eagerly anticipate Stanford Searl’s next work.

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Star Count 4/5
Format eBook
Page Count 48 pages
Publisher The Poetry Box
Publish Date 22-Oct-2019
ISBN 9781948461368 Buy this Book
Issue November 2019
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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