Jeffrey McDaniel’s collection, The Endarkenment recreates the life for and ex-junkie, ex-alcoholic transplanted from Philly to New York City. The second poem in the collection, “Origins” McDaniel shows the reader where he is from, how he grew up, and introduces the reader to the man that will be narrating the poems that follow. “I’m from touch football in parking lots and street-corner Romeos” (1) to “I’m from sucker punches and a mouthful of blood spit in my face” (17) to “I’m from you gonna front like the hard guy you better back that shit up” (21). This poem encapsulates innocence, loss of innocence, fear, false confidence, bravado, drugs, guns, sex, and survival that will permeate the rest of the collection.
McDaniel’s poems in The Endarkenment all come from a specific voice, a voice that is just as comfortable with spray painting his tag on the subway as he is explaining is lack of sympathy for his drug addicted mother as he is with the poetry of William Carlos Williams.
This collection blends vernacular language, gritty images, drugs, sarcasm, and poetic technique to compose an unconventional voice that demands its place in the world of poetics.
McDaniel, Jeffrey. The Endarkenment. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburg Press, 2008.
sound: bad religion. no substance