Dinosaurs Live Among Us by D Everett Newell, Cyberwit.net, Allahabad (India), pp.233, ISBN 978-93-81696-37-8, 2013. Reviewed by Dr. Jaydeep Sarangi.
“There is a door in the heart of man which never opens. Or if it does at times, we are not aware of its opening.” - Jayanta Mahapatra, one of the reputed Indian English poets.
D Everett Newell at the beginning of his collection clearly sates, “My New Book,” Dinosaurs Live Among Us” is my small way to visit the past.” I think these keys send possible signals to read this timely collection. It draws me close to the text and lines of thought. My interest responded as I stepped in. Unless art is rooted in the soil, it is bound to be condemned to both superficiality and artificiality from various interpretative perspectives. Newell’s collection has firm root in the land and its people where the poet lives in. It is a collage of ideas streaming from lived moments of ecstasy.
Newell’s imagery is highly visual and we are glad of the descriptions of earthly objects, the poet makes some concession to those around him fighting a brave battle with life, but he is happy to use his pen as a sword. It is no surprise that throughout this book, we come to feel close to the poet, the man whose soul is ever restless, demand to be hurt and who seeks to engage with conversation through his writing. There is clever, controlled writing in his poems about different facets of life’s acts. Our profound emotions are engaged in many of these poems:
“She died alone in a nursing home
That is all that was stated,
Nothing more to read (.)” (‘Dear Alice’, P. 35)
There are some moments of self-discovery, but more still of metaphysical quest into where we are headed tinted by a super-sensitivity towards the parameter of time. Poetry is a feast of things to sensitive minds . There are as many definitions of poetry as there are poets in this world. Emily Dickinson said, “If I read a book and it makes my body so cold no fire ever can warm me, I know that is poetry.” It creates vibes of positive thought and tender feelings to a reader. It resonates in the mind for a long period with an outburst of ecstasy in a cadence that befriends human ears. A good poem draws me in through its language and rhythm, and shows me a different aspect of something. Newell pens many good poems. For him, the words seem to come through an urge which he suppose might be called inspiration. Human life is a happy journey where we meet up with people from different shores. A close bond develops gradually. The poet enlightens us with all his experiences in life’s daily course. Often the poems that eventuate are very personal:
“Take me out,
To the Ball Game
As Apple Pie
Or Cracker Jacks(.)” (‘Hot Dog’, P. 106)
There is a rare sweet touch of simplicity and lucidity that mark his poetic idioms subtle where the corpus is an inviting discourse. His control over language is like a competent master and the wordsmith:
“U me all of us,
Love like you need to
Enjoy as you deserve to (.)” (‘U’, P. 197)
His usage of lexicon and idiom add flavor to his artistic trajectory. In a way, he is a welcome shock to a traditional reader and acts as a magician. The title itself is intriguing; there is a hint of satire. Human life is a rich gallery of characters where variety is the key. The interrogatives in the title poem pose certain questions. I think these questions stand as key to this collection:
“Have you met?
The type of person?”(‘Dinosaurs Live Among us’,P.37)
Jane Kenyon once said, ”The poet’s job is to put into words those feelings we all have that are so deep, so important, and yet so difficult to name, to tell the truth in such a beautiful way, that people cannot live without it.” The poet announces his identification and deep emotional links with his land and people. Deep intimacy moves him and results into pure poetry. Newell, poetry is an imaginative awareness of experience of life’s daily acts:
“Daily I force smiles
Wipe away tears,
Knowing to the bone
I am a good person(.)” (‘Tunnel Vision’, P. 194)
“Once, poets were magicians. Poets were strong, stronger than warriors or kings- stronger than old hapless gods. And they will be strong once again.”, says Greg Bear. Newell’s book is a veritable image gallery streaming from heteronymous sources and a reading wonder! If you don’t already familiar with D Everett Newell, you will surely after reading this wonderful collection. For the poet , withdrawal and renewal is a constant process and his pen chronicles them with rare artistry through words and punctuations. Poems in the collection are enjoyable read. A must read compilation for all! Happy reading....