Mischief meets elegiac mournfulness in Tom Daley’s new chapbook, Far Cry, in which the poet summons up the ghost of a close but estranged gay friend and searches through evocative imagery and shared memories for an understanding, a resolution, and, most of all, a final embrace. Unexpected religious and erotic juxtapositions deliver both edgy wit and good-natured humor. And, most impressively, throughout this poetic sequence, Daley utilizes impeccable word choices that result in very high-level, almost objectified, confessional pieces. In short, Daley’s diction sparkles. For more of my review go here: http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2022/06/far-cry-poems-by-tom-daley.html
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Tuesday, June 14, 2022
No writer distills history utilizing the form of poetic narrative better than Kevin Gallagher. In his latest effort, The Wild Goose Poems, Gallagher delves into Irish Americana, its background, and its sources. He uses a first-person sequence of poems on the rebel Irishman, then iconic Bostonian, John Boyle O’Reilly as the centerpiece of his collection. The poet leads into that sequence with a retelling of Celtic myth and finishes the book with a combination of classical myth and both local (Southie) and family lore. Think beginning, middle, and end. And that’s the way it reads. For more of my review of The Wild Goose Poems go here: http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2022/06/the-wild-goose-poems-by-kevin-gallagher_14.html
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Decadent. Robotic. Thinly constructed with self-indulgent metaphors. No, I do not like Ocean Vuong’s new collection of poems, Time Is A Mother. In fairness, I am biased and motivated because of a breathless, over-the-top review of Vuong’s first book, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, published in the New Yorker in 2016. That hyperbolizing reviewer claimed that Vuong would somehow “fix” the English language. Nonsense.
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Matter-of-factness takes center stage in Michael Todd Steffen’s magnificent collection of poetry entitled On Earth As It Is. Acceptance, albeit with enormous curiosity, seems meted into each poem’s very marrow and, with it, the poet’s cogent observations. No confessional spattering here. Only hard detail, telling irony, and all-weather humor.
Steffen’s objectivity stems from an apparent deep-seated stoicism not unsimilar to the rather dry meditations left by Marcus Aurelius (Consider Aurelius’ belief that externals do not enter a person’s essence. Quite the opposite.). The complexity of this book is evident even in its title, which exhibits a connection to the Lord’s Prayer and brings with it another meaning entirely. For more of my review of On Earth As It Is go here: http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2022/05/on-earth-as-it-is-by-michael-todd.html
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
My chapbook Alcaics for Major Robert Rogers, published by Wilderness House, has just arrived. It is now available at the Grolier Poetry Book Shop (6 Plympton St., Cambridge, MA, (617)- 547-4648) and will be at other independent book stores soon after.
I'll also sign copies at the bi-weekly Saturday meetings of the Bagel Bards in Porter Square, Cambridge. It is available at Lulu today and will be available at Amazon in four or five weeks. Here is the link for Lulu. https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/dennis-daly/alcaics-for-major-robert-rogers/paperback/product-qmdj5v.html?page=1&pageSize=4
The chapbook includes one poem of 72 stanzas, a prologue and an introduction, as well as notes, a map, Rogers' Rules of Ranging,. some historical pictures, and a bibliography.
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
Two of my Poems, Ode on Today's Canonization of Jacinta and Francisco Marto & At St Mary's Monophysic Church in Diyarbakir, Turkey, Published in Wilderness House
Two of my poems, Ode on Today's Canonization of Jacinta and Francisco Marto & At St Mary's Monophysic Church in Diyarbakir, Turkey, were just published by Wilderness House. They are part of a manuscript entitled Odd Man Out currently seeking a publisher. Thank you to editors Steve Glines and Ravi Yelamanchilli. Here is the link: https://www.whlreview.com/no-17.1/poetry/DennisDaly.pdf
Friday, March 11, 2022
“Oh death, where is thy sting?” 1 Corinthians had it right. So does Harris Gardner in his affecting affirmation of life, fittingly entitled No Time for Death. Slicing through humanity’s Gordian knot of denial, Gardner confronts mortality with memory and poetic craft, assisted by a large dose of wit. His stratagems are nothing if not down-to-earth and sensible. The collection’s three subtitles convey Gardner’s personified logic: An Argument with Time, Contemplating Mortality Instead of My Navel, and Negotiating for an Afterlife. For more of my review go here: http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2022/03/no-time-for-death-by-harris-gardner.html
Saturday, March 5, 2022
Here are the covers of my new book, Alcaics for Major Robert Rogers. It consists of one poem with 72 stanzas in Alcaic meter, an introduction, a prologue, notes and a selected bibliography. It should be out by mid-April or thereabouts.
Thank you to Wilderness House Press and its editor Steve Glines for his excellent design and placement of historical pictures within the collection.
And also, thank you to poet Ed Meek for his kind words on the back cover.
Thursday, February 10, 2022
Most English translations of Alexander Pushkin convey facets of the poet’s singular, Russian genius, but never give the full sense of it. Even Vladimir Nabokov’s attempted literal translation of Eugene Onegin seems to fall flat. One exception to this is Charles Johnson’s impressively formalist translation of Eugene Onegin and other longish Pushkin poems. Now we have another exception, and an extraordinary one at that, Philip Nikolayev’s new bilingual book of selected Pushkin poems, entitled The Star of Dazzling Ecstasy.
Saturday, January 22, 2022
Steven Ratiner recently published an interesting and thoughtful argument in the Red Letter Poem Series (found on Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene (http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2022/01/red-letter-poem-94.html) exploring minimalism and concreteness in poetry, especially as it applies to poet Aram Saroyan. Ratiner quoted Seamus Heaney and tapped into the opinions of such poets and non-poets as Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Ronald Reagan and Jesse Helms. Below is a brief, humble, and somewhat incomplete answer to Ratiner’s arguments.
Petals on a wet black bough.
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Once upon a time multileveled manufacturing plants with attached smokestacks, called mills or factories, grew like mushrooms around waterfalls and river bends. They attracted the able-bodied, both men and women, who sought financial independence and dignity. What these seekers found instead in this soot-filled urban culture was a rite of passage for some, a technological trap for others, and a graveyard or graveyard road for the unlucky remainder.
Friday, January 14, 2022
Saturday, December 11, 2021
Never have I read ekphrastic poems so undetachable from the sources of their inspiration. It is as if Peg Boyers in her new collection, The Album, wrote within the individual art objects, delivering fresh, insightful, versicle pieces, birthed out of the same aesthetic DNA. Boyers and the editors of Dos Madres also deserve not a little praise for publishing this year’s most beautiful book of poems.
La Tempesta (after La Tempesta by Giorgione, 1504) opens Boyers’ collection with its symbolic inferences. This painting was George Gordon Byron’s favorite because of its magical ambiguity. Some art historians believe that the painting was a warning to Venice to avoid war with the Pope’s threatening army. Boyers, however, has a more versatile approach. Her protagonists are art aficionados, who have just purchased a tie, adorned with the lightning bolt from the painting, from the museum shop. The lightning bolt is the demarcation between the lush foreground with a young woman nursing her infant and a young man eying her and an urban background. Previously these art connoisseurs have focused on this foreground ignoring the darker rest, including ruins and an impending storm. For more of my review of The Album go here: http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2021/12/the-album-by-peg-boyers.html
Sunday, December 5, 2021
While reading Denise Provost’s new book, City of Stories, I marveled not only at her well-wrought pieces, but the witty, contagious joy pooling in each one, which charmingly overflows and inevitably drenches the reader in its artistic charm. Sure, there are moments of sorrow and maddening dysfunction in her observations. Hope, however, and the poet’s offbeat stoicism always seem to save the day.
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
As most present-day people have slipped away from organized religion and renounced the burden of churchgoing, amid awful scandals and historic crimes, a few dedicated devotees of religiosity have surfaced, attempting to delve into the heart of the sacred matter and discern what all the fuss was about.
Monday, October 25, 2021
My poem, Niche, was just published by Amethyst Review, a British poetry journal. Thank you to Sarah Law, the Editor in chief. The piece is included in my new book, Shield Wall. Here is the link: https://amethystmagazine.org/2021/10/26/niche-a-rondel-by-dennis-daly/
Monday, September 20, 2021
Elegant beyond elegance. Moira Linehan stitches together a palimpsest biography of her mother’s mother, Marie Louise Raimbault Wacha, a nonpareil seamstress and dress designer. Based on very little hard information, Linehan conjures up backdrops, insights, and probable artistic techniques used by her grandmother. She does this by incorporating period art in an ekphrastic approach that uncovers the extraordinary will and likely contours of a magnificent lady. Wacha’s life spanned the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. The urban textile centers of Paris and Boston nurtured her. For more of my review go here: http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2021/09/company-by-moira-linehan-dos-madres.html
Friday, September 10, 2021
Saturday, September 4, 2021
My new collection entitled Shield Wall is now available at Dos Madres Press. Here is the link:https://www.dosmadres.com/shop/shield-wall-by-dennis-daly/ My own copies I'll have by the end of the week. Other stores and Amazon will follow.
Friday, September 3, 2021
Poets practice their profession as solitaries, with time spans often lengthy, and the intensity profound. They hear voices and often respond with cursive arcs or, more commonly, by tapping computer keys. The disabling isolation, demanded by this calling, fosters envy, grandiose pretentions, and bitterness. Not exactly a healthy atmosphere for bardic lads and lasses coming into their own. For more of my review of 14 International Younger Poets go here: http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2021/09/14-international-younger-poets-edited.html
Sunday, August 15, 2021
My poem The Sleeping Tune, was just published by Amethyst Review. Thank you to Sarah Law, the Editor in chief. The piece will be included in my new book, Shield Wall, due out in early September. Here is the link: https://amethystmagazine.org/2021/08/15/the-sleeping-tune-a-rondel-by-dennis-daly/
Monday, July 12, 2021
Dos Madres just sent me copies of the front and back covers of my new book of poems (due out in September 2021). Thank you to Robert and Elizabeth Murphy for their expert design and usual artistry. Also thank you to David Miller for his succinct and insightful blurb.
Friday, June 4, 2021
Petitions are like prayers, only they are addressed with more certitude. Humanity seems no more capable of reforming itself in the name of itself or its favorite deity than a distracted Almighty, who has clearly moved on to newer and more interesting subjects. Nevertheless, the very act of petition engenders sympathetic audiences of listeners and possibilities.
Joyce Peseroff, in her new poetry collection entitled Petition, makes her idealistic position clear and leads her readers through the daunting and changeable present-day suburban wilderness into her extraordinary alternative world of imagination and hope. For more of my review of Petition go here: http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2021/06/petition-by-joyce-peseroff.html
Monday, May 10, 2021
|Posted in front of the Salem Armory|
Friday, February 26, 2021
Hospitality confers a plethora of emotions upon both host and guest. Some of these sensations, like empathy and gratitude, seem obvious. Others, like intrusiveness and resentment, seem less so. Cultural hospitality evolved historically as a survival trait, inhabiting the very center of tribal society. In her new collection of poems, How to Wash a Heart, Bhanu Kapil examines this interesting phenomenon with intimacy and tough-mindedness.
Nothing, if not original, Kapil sets her collection up in five sections of eight untitled poems apiece. The compositions are twenty lines long in the first section and twenty-two lines in the remaining four. She telescopes in and out, engaging in stories, images, scenes, and speculations of an Indian immigrant. Most of the lines are short and they work well lending emphasis and exposing drama. For more of my review go here: http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2021/02/how-to-wash-heart-by-bhanu-kapil.html