Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage…
The Short List of Certainties explores the many ways in which we are blind to the depths of our fears and to the heights of our noblest selves. Experimental when necessary, but classic in design, Lois Roma-Deeley has woven together a narrative structure that traces the “hero’s journey” while reaching into and beyond the social issues of our time. Roma-Deeley’s writing entices the reader to join two strong-willed and modern, yet vulnerable feminist spirits, on this venture. The twin daughters of Hope —anger and courage— materialize and dematerialize throughout time, physical space, and social boundaries to liberate the world while destroying classic mandates. The twins struggle within themselves, argue with each other, and rage at the world as they fight against work-a-day violence, social injustices, and even Hope itself. The Short List of Certainties offers no easy answers for the brokenness found within ourselves and our world, but there’s no turning back now. The blind "what-if" awaits.
Reader’s Guide Discussion Questions
The Short List of Certainties
by Lois Roma-Deeley
Paperback: 104 pages , $14.95
Publisher: Franciscan University Press (July 9, 2017)
1) The Short List of Certainties opens with the prologue poem, “Snow Blind,” in which the speaker is watching a glacier calve and then experiences a temporary loss of vision.
Define “blindness” in terms of fear. n terms of faith. How are they similar? issimilar? ive examples of each drawn from your own life
How you explain the phrase “the blind what-if?”
2) There are two epigraphs attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo and Pascal which introduce the book:
Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.
–St. Augustine of Hippo
You must wager. It is not optional. You are embarked.
a) According to St. Augustine, one of Hope’s beautiful daughters is Anger. Throughout history and in individual lives, “righteous anger” has been used as a justification for change and, in some cases, physical violence.
b) Do you agree or disagree that there may be other forms of violence which physical? Explain.
c) he twin daughers of Hope--Anger and Courage-- struggle within themselves, argue with each other, and rage at the world as they fight against work-a-day violence, social injustices, and even Hope itself.
d) the twin daughters?
e) Define the “wager” to which Pascal refers in the Wh th gamble or bet is “not optional”
3) In what ways does structure of this book follow theidea of the hero’s journey as being one of adventure and transformation? In what ways does the book depart from this notion?
4) Time, memory and “the journey” all are key elements in this book. For example, the first lines of the poem, “Nearby Is the Country,” state: “The past moves inside me/as water from a swollen river makes its inevitable way/to the sea.” How time and memory like moving water? Who the “bloody blind one” standing on the rooftop waiting to be recused? Who or what the rescuer?
5) The poem “Dematerializing” draw heavily on the tale of The Ring of Gyges, as set forth in Plato’s Republic, which explores the idea of human virtue. What would you do if you knew there would be no consequences to your actions?
7) The poems “A Banjo Strums Itself to Sleep” and “The
Mirage of Saints Confess Their Unholy
Thoughts” employ the editorial strike-out
function (as in strike-out) as a way of creating juxtaposition among
images to produce a poem that can be read and experienced different levels.
8) The signature poem “Two Daughters” ends with the lines: “burn a path through this world/or move on to the next.” In what ways can a person “burn a path” through the world?