Palace of Subatomic Bliss

Darcie Dennigan. Canarium (SPD, dist.), $14 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-0-9969827-2-6
Lists, images, musical fragments, letters, charts, a play, quotes—Dennigan (Madame X) packs her dense, intelligent third collection with all manner of communication. A poem doesn't have to be a poem in this book, in which writing bites at the edges of reality both formally and thematically. For instance, Dennigan's stage directions can operate as eerie, dreamlike demands: "I was to go off to the edge of the lawn again, lightly, like a silk handkerchief." Others are more specific, as in "(move)" or "YOU CAN SKIP THIS WHOLE THING," the latter of which feels both self-conscious and knowing, a nod toward the absurdism being explored. As was notable in her previous collection, Dennigan is obsessed with the absurdity of the human body, particularly fertility and pregnancy: "So the fetus did try to come out early./ I was able to stuff her back in and help her regain fetus status, but not before she made a few requests." Dennigan's poetry resists categorization, demanding that the reader try not to reconcile the paradoxes she presents. Instead, Dennigan asks that readers accept the book's logical and emotional traps, the long mazes that conclude without relief: "Marry and you will regret it; do not marry and you will also regret it. That is how the expert's report ended." (May)
Reviewed on: 07/04/2016
Release date: 05/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
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