Man - Fate
Poetry by William Everson
“These are the poems of a man undergoing a major break fairly late in his years,’’ explains William Everson in his preface to Man-Fate. It is his first collection since leaving the Dominican order in December 1969, and with it the name of Brother Antoninus, by which he was known for twenty years as one of the foremost Catholic poets of our time. The book, he continues, ’’is a love poem sequence, a cycle of renewal, but it also concerns the monastic life, from the point of view of one who has renounced it. The love of woman and the love of solitude have contested together, and solitude has lost.” “Tendril in the Mesh,’’ the longest poem in Man-Fate, was written while the author was still living the life of a Dominican brother. Because it is the last piece in which he speaks in the persona of a monk, it gives to the entire collection its definitive subtitle: The Swan Song of Brother Antoninus. After the first public reading of “Tendril,’’ Everson tells us, he ’’stripped off his religious habit and fled the platform.” The fifteen other poems in the book complete the cycle of reversion from religious to secular life.