Philadelphia born Susan Millar DuMars has a second collection of poetry out with Salmon Poetry called Dreams for Breakfast and it is a fine follow up to her 2008 book Big Pink Umbrella.
One of the trendier of the chattering classes commentators is Charles Arsene-Henry who has thrown new light on old Freud by describing: In a dream you k now that you have suddenly understood something and you feel elated, but when you wake it is lost or at least you don’t have the grammar to express it. Well DuMars has the grammar; the language and the poetry to distil dreams explore them and serve them up as breakfast. Reading her you feel that you suddenly understand what she means and why she says it.
She divides this collection into two sections; Dreams and Breakfast. In the title poem you get mundane things taking on new importance like sleepwalking in familiar places yet feeling marooned.
In Winning you get the surreal of a Rubik’s cube that is all one colour. The Past is another familiar place as a frozen lake but the end is a cracking surprise.
There are dreams of death, déjà vu and penitents and if you, like me, feel a slam poem I Dream of Sarah Palin is a fey joke too far. You will love the colloquial of going At It – the night I lifted my dress in Father Burke Park. Then in another dream Stephen Fry kisses her.
In the Breakfast section, there is a menu and a pun on Way Out, while a wonderful poem like Skates seems in the wrong section. But that’s the problem with dreams, they are not as ordered or sequential as you might like.
DuMars and her husband Kevin Higgins do great work in Galway organising Over the Edge readings and events.
Salmon Poetry are feeling the sold commercial winds and worry that bookshops don’t stock all their titles anymore. A familiar problem for poetry that survives on sales at readings and festivals but they have a good online service. Writing this I feel caught between mu love of bookshops and an online system that doesn’t need a heart but offers good service.