ABOUT THE BOOK:
A timely book about forgetting, Dementia, My Darling constructs a thesis on life as we remember it from moment to moment.
What is your first memory of love? How soon will you forget answering that question? There is no history but biography,
and the heart is a biased historian.
"Brendan Constantine's Dementia, My Darling is a mediation on memory. Poems address the difficulty of the death of
memory and how does a survivor deal with recollections of a father's lie, a collective lie about snow, school desk carvings,
sleep talking, moths, and hospital ceilings. This collection examines consciousness, connotations, and relationships.
Constantine is a master poet illuminating the ordinary and extraordinary with his distinct voice holding humor and heart
‐Steven Reigns, author of Inheritance
"Dementia, My Darling is a suite of acute, beautiful poems about coming apart, slippage, love, emptying out, transformation, and
carrying on. Every absurdly human moment in them is handled with smarts and just the right mix of inventiveness and delicacy.
Each poem leaves its mark on the reader. Tender and humane and unsparing, the poems never surrender to despair. They all have
a kind of brightness. Constantine renders the creeping surrealism of dementia from many angles, with the awe that is its due. Gaps,
anagrams, collage and montage are employed to convey the myriad ways we fragment, multiply, dissolve. A fly is described as
'an ink blot with wings / a blood spot / that sings a thin hymn.' (!!) This book is a lyrical wrestling match with mortality."
‐Amy Gerstler, author of Dearest Creature
"I love this collection. I'm dazzled by its spectacular acts of imagination, the places it invents, the ways it invents of describing
those places. Its most wondrous feat, though, is the heart it allows to beat behind its intelligence, the person that peers from its
intricate, sharp, brilliant latticework: so much structure, so much sharpness, and that softness, too. Bravo."
‐Mandy Kahn, author of Math, Heaven, Time
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brendan Constantine is a poet based in Hollywood. His work has appeared in numerous journals, most notably Ploughshares, FIELD,
Zyzzyva, Ninth Letter, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, ArtLife, PANK and L.A. Times Best Seller, The Underground Guide to Los Angeles.
His first book, Letters To Guns (Red Hen Press 2009), is now required reading in creative writing programs across the nation. His most
recent collections are Birthday Girl With Possum (Write Bloody Publishing 2011) and Calamity Joe (Red Hen Press 2012).
Mr. Constantine has had work commissioned by the Getty Museum and he has received grants from the James Irvine Foundation and the
National Endowment of the Arts. He is currently poet in residence at the Windward School and adjunct professor at Antioch University.
In addition, he regularly offers classes in hospitals, prisons, shelters, and with the Alzheimer's Poetry Project.
FROM THE BOOK:
The Bear Chapter
by Brendan Constantine
No one watches the stewardess anymore;
how she demonstrates the belt, the mask,
the life vest. We've got it down. Maybe
not our lives, our money & regret, or how
to breathe while kissing, but, by God,
we know how to survive a water landing.
The stewardess doesnt look at us either,
but at someplace that's really behind her,
the way dancers do. It's a recital, after all.
In the wild we're told not to sleep too near
our food, to put even our champagne far
away. There's a checklist of other things,
written by a man so bored, he's forgotten
what survival is. Bears attack, he says,
if we surprise them. But he won't say
how; whether bears are easily frightened
or just don't like parties. When shipping
a bear by air, its ticket must be taped to
the cage in a waterproof bag. Someone
has to check this, someone who long ago
stopped imagining a sea full of floating
luggage, full of drowned bears in boxes.
The stewardess swims by. We call to her,
she to us; the ocean swallows our cries.
No surprises here.
From the book Dementia, My Darling by Brendan Constantine
This poem originally appeared in the journal Zyzzyva.