Local poet Denise Bergman launches her newest collection, Three Hands None.
"Fearless, unsparing, Denise Bergman probes a violent, sexual assault to expose the personal and social consequences of ungovernable, masculinist culture. 'Home is the coat that can't keep me warm or dry / buttons and holes I can't align, ' the poet declares, struggling to rebuild a coherent self. A book-length narrative poem, Three Hands None reveals how 'materials for this story' also account for domestic and international tragedies: 'the single-eyed babies born in Fallujah' and 'strip-mined flattened hills.' A single sequence--of narrative, fragment, and image--this original work will leave you breathless, changed."--Robin Becker
"To read Denise Bergman's Three Hands None is to inhabit an intimate accounting of a sexual assault in her bed by a stranger that reduced the writer to 'barebones nothing.' The accounting is obsessive, almost Steinian in its use of repetition to render the ripping of self that occurred during and after the event, the long days and nights when she 'sweated inside matted wool terror filthy as a sheep.' The poems that compose the volume read like the raw data of a mind working nonstop to parse the violence that severed her from 'a body once her own.' They collapse the distance between past and present, silence and speech, material and the metaphor, inside and out. The journey is not for the timid; images climb inside and rake your chest. But Bergman's supple intelligence--whose 'home is the range of one's instinct'--and mastery of her craft carry her and her reader through: 'Word on the street is she still lives there.'"--Lee Sharkey
Denise Bergman's poetry collection Three Hands None is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in March 2019. A Woman in Pieces Crossed a Sea won the Patricia Clark Smith Poetry Prize and was published by West End Press in 2014. The book centers on the making and endurance of “symbol” in the Statue of Liberty; the impetus for the book was the year when the statue sat in 350 pieces in 214 crates on its future island home awaiting reconstruction. The Telling (Cervena Barva, 2014) is a book-length poem generated by a relative's one-sentence secret: she believed that as a child refugee she had accidentally killed her mother. Seeing Annie Sullivan (poetry, Cedar Hill Books) based on the early life of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher, was translated into Braille and a Talking Book. Denise conceived and edited the anthology of urban poetry City River of Voices (West End Press). Her poetry is widely published, most recently in Poetry, Beloit Poetry Journal, Solstice, Paterson Literary Review, and the Syracuse Cultural Workers Women’s Daybook. The first stanza of her poem “Red,” about a neighborhood near a slaughterhouse, is permanently installed in a public park in Cambridge, Mass.