Author: Candice Louisa Daquin
Publisher: Finishing Line Press, 2022; ISBN: 9871646629725
Rhapsodic treatise on the dualities of life and love
Reviewed by Anita Nahal

Well-known poet and editor Candice Louisa Daquin’s book fascinates us right from its very graphic jacket. Readers are encouraged to take a pause and observe the essence of this powerful, heart-touching, authentic, realist, and artistic poetry collection through the narrative the jacket is trying to portray. One cannot help but think of Salvador Dali’s painting Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening which he painted in 1944. Influenced by Sigmund Freud, he believed that dreams and imagination were pivotal rather than peripheral to human thought. What conjures up in our brain while we jostle between dream and reality is a tiny, sometimes unrealized space wherein folks attempt an exploration of their assumptions and beliefs and draw conclusions on big and small existentialist issues. 

On Daquin’s jacket, the panther with a wide-open mouth could either be releasing or preparing to swallow a beautiful, nude young woman in a striking (perhaps ballet) dance pose. The nakedness of the woman and the sharp teeth of the panther invite the reader into a raw and earthy poetic experience, suggesting what could be scarry, disturbing, or violent sexual or non-sexual connotations, especially since arrows pierce through the panther’s neck and head, and big hearts, birds in flight, roses, and even a key and lock embedded in a woman’s hand on the back of the jacket are all in red. The intended meaning could be to shock folks from complacency or interject surrealist visualization. The readers can speculate and decide for themselves. For me, the woman’s dancer pose, literally in flight from the panther’s mouth, speaks of joy, upliftment, freedom, uninhibitedness, and sheer love and respect for the self and, in turn, for others. In a universalist symbolic manner, Daquin, through her poetry and jacket, underscores justice and self-realization for all. 

Besides the riveting jacket, the title of the book, Tainted by the same Counterfeit, is very 

ingenuous for a book that is a rhapsodic treatise on the dualities of life, wherein being “tainted” regardless of a given set of 

people or circumstances in one’s life is clearly etched. There is no question about that. There are no doubts 

about being tainted because almost all humans are tainted. No one is perfect. The question that may arise is: who and how much? 

The choice of the jacket design, the title, and the poetry in the book all seem reflective of the good, bad, and evil that most homo sapiens ascribe to and actualize. Daquin’s poetry alludes to a world where anyone could be tainted by choice, circumstances, and happenstance, the ramifications of which could be smooth, drastic, or anything in between. Being tainted or tainting another by 

countless forms of counterfeit (real, psychological, financial, or imagined, etc.) is the emphatic message of Daquin’s book. There’s a restlessness that most of us feel routinely as we 

move through our lives, which seeps through each poem by Daquin. A master wordsmith, she seems to be moving along with her words, creating a magic spell that is set in motion with the very first lines of the very first poem: 

Somewhere in a filing room with corrugated cardboard and dried blood 

her skirt of 2006 is folded by a uniformed man 

who isn’t used to folding women’s clothes. 

She will not be wearing again 

it’s evident of a crime committed… (The memory of clothes, p. 1) 

Be it in the kitchen, “Two chairs/ pull towards each other…” (La politique de la chase vide, p. 3), or in the open fields, “…legs scratched by dead corn; the sky looks enormous/ in a rush of past and future…” (The rule curve, p. 5), or in thoughts, emotions, actions, or the realities of life, such as a girl menstruating, Daquin 

urges us to observe and explore closely humanity’s dyads and dualisms. 

Too soon 

the child menstruates 

bleeding away her right to play 

she is captured behind glass doors 

starched and polished 

until catching eye of man 

old enough to have given her life… (Hymen, p. 13)