Echoey music, sweet and provocative, is the lure in Martine
Bellen's language maze, where word opens as though in search of a secret
exit, or perhaps just deeper harmonies, deeper allure. Language's old
formal pathways, the song says, are not enough to take us places people
dare not enter.
Reading Martine Bellen's extended, linked poems I think of cave fish navigating
by instinct, not dependant on light. I am also reminded of labyrinths,
nebulae, webs, sacs -- Places People Dare Not Enter -- of amniotic
margins of thought forming in fluid suspension.
Martine Bellen's poems dissolve the world of ordinary convers- ation and
etch out patterns that demand another kind of world, one in which Satan
is satin -- but still Satan. And then it comes as something of a shock
to find that it's in fact our ordinary world still, which she has somehow
gotten from a new angle. A real achievement.
Martine Bellen supplies us with maps for Places People Dare Not Enter.
The terrain is the inner life and the linguistic structures it calls forth:
labyrinths with moveable parts, nets, webs. Her writing counterpoints
the diaphanous and invisible with a dense surface. It is an original and
impressive record of a woman writing herself as both voyeur/voyager.
Martine Bellen is a poet of refreshing complexity. Her un- predictable
disjunctions and conjunctions and her baroque mix of vivd images and meticulous
abstractions make one uncertain whether these poems (in verse composed
of prose segments) are precise narrations of the contingent or of dreams
or of the former masquerading as the latter. They are full of surprises.
--Jackson Mac Low