$12.00 • 64 pp. • 2010
Review: Black Sheep Dances
In The New Make Believe, one is seeking a vehicle, rejecting lover, God, child, all objects, and in the process, noticing one’s accident, which was always present, as the ground of existence. Once noticed, never losing contact with it, this silent partner, the way Blaise Pascal sewed into the lining of his coat his notes and sketch made upon first encountering his accident. Touch it, dance with it, but avoid the temptation to manage it, which leads to sentimentality, or worse, brutality. So how is the new make believe different from “the old make believe?”put it out put it out and try to talk about it.
“The New Make Believe is the culmination of a poet’s close attention to craft, prosody, language and life. Denise Newman brings to the table an uncanny (and maternal) ability to knit intense subjectivity and remarkable powers of observation to concrete narratives of everyday life, both profound and routine.”
—Brian Unger for The Poetry Project Newsletter; DEC/JAN 2010/11 #225
“A strange intelligence guides the works in THE NEW MAKE BELIEVE toward insistent, yet nearly ineffable, re-definitions of commonplace words, as if everything were, in being named, strange. ‘Accident,’ ‘law,’ ‘memorial,’ ‘wolf,’ ‘pants’ ‘sex’ and other such terms participate in intense proto-symbolic musicalities to reveal (or cover) what seem to be crucial yet cheerily personal insights into what it is to be alive as or in a person surrounded by a baffling world of dark beauty “and mysterious others. Denise Newman’s work is here more haunting than ever, and as needful of contemplation.”
Denise Newman is the author of Human Forest and Wild Goods (both published by Apogee Press), and the translator of The Painted Room and Azorno, two novels by the Danish poet Inger Christensen. She teaches at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco where she lives with her husband and daughter.