I admit it. I’ve been googling myself again. It’s Sunday afternoon. I’m stalling. Around page nine of my name –a few entries away from the really strange link asking if I want to find intelligence on my father–I stumbled across (not to be confused with Stumbling Upon, which would have been way less creepy) an excellent review in The Rumpus of Dean Young’s The Art of Recklessness by Darcie Dennigan. The review includes Walt Whitman’s semen in a conch shell, Peter Pan, Gertrude Stein on a spring day, and lots of oceanic hullabaloo, including shipwrecks. I’m always quoting Leopardi: How easeful to be wrecked in seas like these.
So, for weeks now I’ve been promising excerpts reviews of contemporary poetry books and lit mags by students in my Deeper Poetics class. I’m consistently surprised and delighted by what they’re up to. Here are a few snippets:
Helena B. on Darcie Dennigan’s Corinna A-Maying the Apocalypse (Fordham U. Press, 2008)
Dennigan’s book doesn’t have anything so cheap as a moral. But in the crystalline strangeness and unfamiliar beauty of all of the poems; in the relationship between the poet and a young child (who may, in fact, be the child-self of the speaker herself) who each need the other desperately, and who agree to last; in the speaker’s wry and insistent and self-deprecating self-awareness (that can be found in nearly every poem but is most noticeable in “Eleven Thousand and One” and “Interior Ghazal of a Lousy Girl”) is some reassurance: that the world has already ended, that the world is always ending, and that we are still here. This is the kind of book that ruins me for doomsdays scenarios. May the ending of the world be half this beautiful.
Brandon V. on Lisa Jarnot’s Night Scenes (Flood Editions, 2008)
Lisa Jarnot’s Night Scenes begins with an epigraph out of Robert Duncan:
O, to release the first music somewhere again,
for a moment
to touch the design of the first melody!
Night Scenes is aptly preluded: sound and meter govern the poems in this collection. Jarnot pens the lyric—through implicit in the lyric poem is the myth of the proto-lyricist and first poet, Orpheus, and his songs of loss. Jarnot crafts scenes of sprawling fields and forests restful and bucolic and bathed in stars; these scenes, however, are as a dream, sung from a distance, projected like moonlight onto the page from Jarnot’s ostensible (as first seen in the poem “Bar Course Excise Insensible”) home in Brooklyn. Night Scenes is a searching, a reaching for that lost first music—and Jarnot takes up the task jubilantly, finding her melody in the wonder of the sensuous natural world.
I was reading Alexis Orgera’s blog last night, and she had posted something about something Tony Hoagland wrote about “the cult of Dean Young” in American Poetry Review, and some subsequent vituperative blogging induced thereby. But what caught my attention was something Alexis mentioned in passing, while talking about something John Gallaher said about Hoagland’s piece. “I do like that Gallaher calls Hoagland out for defining the new American poetry by young, white men. I think two of the most interesting and fearless young poets right now are women: Darcie Dennigan and Dorothea Lasky.” This, to me, is infinitely more interesting than whether Tony Hoagland thinks Dean Young is being trampled to death by geese or not. What’s especially infinitely interesting is the fact that I’ve never even heard of Darcie Dennigan. (Pretty sure I’m on-record as a fan of Dottie L’s, but if not, let this be that record.) Or I thought I’d never heard of her. It actually turns out that DD is the author of Corinna A-Maying the Apocalypse, a book I most definitely remember hearing about. It came out from Fordham University Press last year, after winning their Poets Out Loud prize. So let’s all get to know Darcie Dennigan.
– “The Canon Come Again: Same Themes, Different Centuries” is an essay by DD at the Poetry Foundation.
– Paul Vermeersch had the same idea as I did about DD, and already did more legwork than I’m going to. So for more, go over to his blog and see what he’s rounded up.