Publisher : Spuyten Duyvil
Publication Date : November 28, 2001
ISBN : 9781881471684
Category : Poetry, Poems
Product Dimensions : 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
Paperback : 80 pages
Cover Art : Gloria Fuentes

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In Detective Sentences] Henning maneuvers conventional, “protestant” plain speech as an unlikely foil to her frequent “yogic twists” mediating “ease and disease.” Henning does not attempt structural subtlety in these formal experiments–alternating for the most part between prose patches and verse couplets. The prose is straightforward, pellucid, and all the more noteworthy in that it unselfconsciously fuses dream imagery with journalistic scrutiny. Her couplets shear experience down to judicious reportage in chilling dualities, points, counterpoints: “I sleep better with my head at the foot of the bed / The guy in the next bed is handcuffed to the rail.” “I put oil in his ears…/…you want me // to pick up the check and then nothing / not even a kiss.” “The Trade Center towering over St. Paul’s /Two paper cups with coffee on a bench.” The value of Henning’s experiments, as these examples indicate, is the intensity that appears to be lived out through the brevity if what is expressed. (Jack Kimball, Faux Press, 1/3/2004)

Detective Sentences is an exciting and challenging collection. Whether in prose or poetry, Barbara Henning’s formal inventiveness has given her apparently autobiographical material a power never found in purely confessional writing. Her vision of an unreasonable world (our very own) is very intelligent, very intense, sometimes funny, always disturbing. (Harry Matthews)

Barbara Henning’s Detective sentences are fastened with empathy. Lived sorrow for our failures to connect and a tender knowledge of human potential is the larger sense these discrete and enignmatic sentences illuminate. Like the outline of a body, her phrases impart the residue, memory’s investigative unveiling process, here in this house inside a house/ with a spider tatooed over your breastbone (Kimberly Lyons)

Detective Sentences— This is, as the title suggests, a book of sentences, sentences that uncover with intelligence and grace the web of daily life, whether in the East Village’s Tompkins Square Park or outside her mother’s house in Detroit. Henning’s surfaces are straight forward, yet her non-sequiturs and leaps are connected by an invisible web that links strands of ordinary, uncommon humanity to the absurd and the cosmic. (Brenda Coultas)

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