Sunday, October 28, 2012

In Time for Halloween: Denise Dumars's "Paranormal Romance"


     In time for Halloween/Dia de los Muertos, readers can find all sorts of spooky poetry, or, for the more discerning reader, there is Denise Dumars's Paranormal Romance: Poems Romancing the Paranormal (copyright 2012 Sam's Dot Publishing).
     Paranormal Romance approaches the spirit world without fear, trepidation or hubris, telling tales (sometimes cautionary), of the “thinning of the veil,” between the living and the dead with a strong narrative, and a well-honed sense of humor. There are Egyptian gods taking a vacation (“Djehuti in Las Vegas”); a paen to ectoplasmic motorcycle riders (“Ghost Riders”; and, instructions on the proper way to honor 19th century Voudoo Queen Marie Leveau (“Mam'zelle”). There are also a series of “what if” scenarios, where Dumars imagines what it would be like to exist in more than one universe - with unforeseen consequences - (“Parallel World''); and, the colors, as well as the communication spectrum of ghosts (“Home”).
     The reverence with which Dumars approaches those who have shuffled off this mortal coil is apparent in all her poetry. The dead are not “dead,” in anything other than a corporeal sense; Dumars's awareness of both past and present coexisting/overlapping rend the veil as she explores the positive advantages of leisure activities with the spirits ('Wasting Time"), a capricious game of hide-and-seek with a ghost (“Victorian Fantasy”), and, the all-pervading current that comes through with the commingling of both worlds in the city of New Orleans, as in the poem “Magic”:

And we knew the first time we visited:
Vodou veves in the gang graffiti ,
Guys dressed like Baron Samadi riding bicycles
near the statue of Jefferson Davis,
the ghost of your long-lost love
walking down a street in the Bywater
at dusk.

     We live in a society obsessed with not only staying young, but, also, a society that increasingly views the unseen world as a curiosity to be made fun of/debunked on B-minus reality programs. Sadly, honoring the dead, and acknowledging death as a vital part of our existence are highly discouraged. Dumars's Paranormal Romance gives the reader permission to break these taboos, and to gain back the truth; death is a part of life, and life goes on after we cease to breathe.

     Author Bio: Denise Dumars is a widely published author of poetry, short fiction, articles, essays, and reviews. She has had a variety of occupations, including library technician, film journalist, technical editor, literary agent, and college instructor. She lives in the beautiful South Bay area of Los Angeles County, but her heart is in New Orleans.

Paranormal Romance: Poems Romancing the Paranormal, copyright 2012 Denise Dumars, Sam's Dot Publishing, 978-0-9828975-4-6, 122 pages, $10.00.

Poem “Magic,” © 2012 Denise Dumars
Article Content © 2012 Marie Lecrivain

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