Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly – poems – Darren C Demaree

Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly
poems by Darren C. Demaree
8th House Publishing, 2016


‘Covered in the inscriptions of bizarre
timing…’ – from A Violent Sound in Almost Every Place #104

‘If today is the day
to walk towards
the sad, diverted

questions…’ – from All the Birds Are Leaving #35

Darren C. Demaree is a poet who carries in him a gentle tirelessness. He seems, by the worried exuberance of his verse, to want to know where he is that he might calm the distance in others. Audience is the loneliness he’s assigned himself. He recently signed a book of his for me and added: in Ohio in 2017. That book was, is, Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly. It is a book of both homage and future. A frantically pastoral book that moves as if each carousel horse could have a mind of its own while entertaining the idea that discovery may be on its second marriage. These poems achieve a tension that oddly is not reached by what the author withholds, but by what the author seeks. Into what does one engrave the gospel of change?

The book is made of three humanist parts representing Birth (A Violent Sound in Almost Every Place), Life (We Are Arrows), and Death (All the Birds Are Leaving).

The first, A Violent Sound in Almost Every Place, reads as an occupation of places otherworldly in the way it holds aloft the local…

‘…sure night of this


wait for the room
of the room

to hold
a wider table

for our loose need’ – from #17

in late morning,
each flapping wing

means something
to a man

looking for any sign
or invitation
to be a creature.’ – from #75

…and in the way it possesses the acolyte.

‘…It is every

second of heaven, except
for your need to hear
your name said by God.’ – from #22

‘…I can hear
my body all the time,

now.’ – from #28

The second, We Are Arrows, seems narrated by a straggling, curious invader.

‘…I want, at times, to know we are not
precious to each other, and I want to know
that this feeling is misleading me to a
recoverable place.‘ – from #17

Unfenced, we have imagined wrongly that every
cornfield contains a proper ghost.’ – from #20

‘…If in the middle, the surrounding starts to
panic you, then love, I suppose, could be an
oven as well.’ – from #152

The third, All the Birds Are Leaving, asks the crooked whole of a person to make a map of her upward gaze.

‘…I want to know
what happens when
warmth is never known

& then sneaks into the bath
of human experience
like a toe & then a body’ – from #8

‘Our hope is the best
forgetting.’ – #14

‘…We cannot
fly forever because of our
hammering want

to touch each other.’ – from #28

Entry, re-entry, and exodus…this book covers sacred ground. It is ambitious but not breathless, and believes in, and makes one worship beneath, its endeavor to put alienation out of reach. Demaree’s script hungers in the linear but does not starve the jigsaw. If we acknowledge the light at the end of the tunnel, we must also return to the shadow said light puts there.


review by Barton Smock


book is here:

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