DIES: A Sentence
In Dies: A Sentence, Vanessa Place withholds the period for 130 pages and one long night as its legless narrator recounts the war journey that has lead him to his final point of final truth, next to an armless man making stew. Place’s single sentence unmoors time and space, subject and object, victim and perpetrator, in a voice sanctifying everything and elegizing nothing. As poet and scholar Susan McCabe says in her introduction, “Roll over, dear Whitman. Here’s our new original.”
Praise for Dies
“In a single sentence as bloody and crazed as the history of the 20th century, Place offers up “the untamed cadence of ten thousand feet.” Caught somewhere between Beckett’s The Unnamable, Kathy Acker’s Don Quixote, James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake and Ann Quin’s Passages, Dies is an extravagant and ferocious book, a real and uncompromising marvel.”
“The architectonics of Dies calls upon the aural touchstones, not only of Pound, but of Dante, Rabelais (beware of a scatological extravaganza), Eliot, Whitman, Stein, the Bible, Beckett, Joyce, Remarque, even ‘the ghost of mark twain‘—a babbling horde that makes this sentence both humbling and beyond paraphrase, both mythic and contemporary.”
Dies is a marvel of sustained synergy. Editors live to encounter such work, that thrills, provokes, and finally deeply gratifies its reader. Not recommended for the faint-of-heart, Vanessa Place pulls out all the stops.
“If (and I like to believe it is) a single sentence is a unit of thought, then this present thought of Vanessa Place is dizzyingly complex, compound, and full of miraculous side trips as well—not so dissimilar to the world that contains it.”
“Place is a sky-writer, a kind of Beryl Markam aviator of words—she loops the loop, stalls and re-starts, dips her wings—then lands on a dime, delivers the mail,” her sentence “up in the air, drifting continuum.”