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Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Odd Man Out Published

My newest book, Odd Man Out, has just been published by MadHat Press. Much thanks to to the editor, Marc Vincenz, for his excellent design work. The book is currently available at MadHat Press, The Grolier Poetry Book Store, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or through myself. 

Friday, March 22, 2024

Review of Knock-knock by Owen Lewis

Does surpassing life’s expectancy bestow any extraordinary blessings of goodness or happiness or vitality? Probably not. What about wisdom, surely….? Sorry, jury’s out. The legendary Methuselar, at 969 biblical years old and righteous to a fault, died a natural death (with all its attendant horrors), apparently not long-lived enough for passage on his grandson’s just recently built ark, specifically that same ark’s gene-saving journey into mankind’s brave new world.

 In his new poetry collection, Knock-knock, Owen Lewis notices the tragedy, the irony, and the humor in the impaired denouement of humankind. His protagonist, a card-carrying member of the AMA, wanders through a fading landscape of imagination and perceptiveness bundled in symptomatic non sequiturs. For more of my review of Knock-knock go here: https://dougholder.blogspot.com/2024/03/knock-knock-by-owen-lewis.html

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Review of Blues, Prayers, & Pagan Chants by Diane Sahms

Are there parallel universes that complete us, that deliver meaning where there seems to be only chaos-- a place, perhaps, for prayers to be delivered, petitions to be filed, unholy chants to be rhythmically sounded out, and sadnesses to be unfolded into wonder and song? Diane Sahms, at least in a literary sense, seems to think so. In her marvelous new book, Blues, Prayers, and Pagan Chants Sahms connects with this other shadow (sometimes sacred) reality, often using memory as her catalyst and nature as her medium. For more of my review of Blues, Prayers, & Pagan Chants go here: https://dougholder.blogspot.com/2024/03/blues-prayers-pagan-chants-poems-by.html

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Front and Back Covers for my Forthcoming Book

Front and Back Covers of my soon-to-be-published new book of poems, Odd Man Out. Thank you to editor Marc Vincenz and to Philip Nikolayev and Michael Casey for their kind and generous words. Much appreciated.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Front Cover of my Forthcoming Book: Odd Man Out


This is the front cover of my soon-to-be-published next book of poems. Much thanks to Marc Vincenz, the editor of MadHat Press.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Review of Uyghur Poems

 Poet Karen Klein has published an insightful review of Uyghur Poems (including 13 of my translations) on the Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene. Here is the link: https://dougholder.blogspot.com/2024/01/uyghur-poems-edaziz-isa-elkun-transaziz.html

Thursday, November 9, 2023

13 of My Translations Re-published by Alfred A. Knopf (Penguin Random House)

Alfred A. Knopf (Owned by Penguin Random House) released Uyghur Poems on November 7th as part of their Everyman's Library Pocket Poets series. The book is being published simultaneously in New York, London and Toronto.

13 of my translations of Alisher Navoiy (or Ali-Shir Nava'i), chosen by editor Aziz Isa Elkun, himself a Uyghur poet, are included in this collection. 

Thank you to Gloria Mindock, who originally published  my translations in Twenty-One Ghazals by Alisher Navoiy (Cervena Barva Press), and Steve Glines, who designed much of that book. Their trust and superb work brought great attention to my translations.

From the Amazon Book Overview: In the face of the systematic persecution of the Uyghurs in China today, which has driven many of their poets into exile, Uyghur Poems is not only a remarkable one-volume tour of ancient and vibrant poetic tradition but also a vital witness to a threatened culture.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Review of Swift River Ballad by Thomas DeFreitas

When tonality rides along the surface in poetry the results often appear strangely profound. In Thomas DeFreitas’ new book, Swift River Ballad, the poet pilots his paper boat of sorts down a torrent of uplifting canticles and unsettling hymns, seeking the truth, but missing the dangerous rocks and eddies along the way.

DeFreitas stops his readers in their too comfortable tracks with curiously numinous images and sacerdotal references. His technique strikes one as unusual (in the sense of modern verse) and new. Depth is never a problem here. The poet’s perfect pitch phraseology allows submergence into subconscious levels when necessary and proper in an emotive sense. For more of my review of Swift River Ballad go here: https: dougholder.blogspot.com/2023/10/swift-river-ballad-poems-by-thomas.html

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Review of It's Not Love Till Someone Loses An Eye by Clay Ventre

First books of poetry rarely surprise. Clay Ventre’s initial collection, It’s Not Love Until Someone Loses An Eye, does. His first-rate love poems are off-beat and oddly self-demolishing. He chisels each quirky narrative to innovative perfection and then keeps on chiseling. The new, miniature worlds created by Ventre’s persona and his persona’s lover highlight reality’s instability and logical absurdness.  But that’s alright. Creators (read poets), after all, are (for good or ill) gods and goddesses by virtue of their productions, and they make sense by rearranging the raw material of chaos. For more of my review go here:  http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2023/07/its-not-love-till-someone-loses-eye-by.html

Friday, June 9, 2023

Review of the Pearl Diver of Irunmani

Slicing through the surface of airless consciousness toward unfathomable truths can excite the artistic imagination into a rather unique understanding of being and self. Marc Vincenz in his new book, The Pearl Diver of Irunmani, concocts distinctive and curious metaphors from these rarely explored oceanic depths with their hitherto undetected, and sometimes priceless, gems.

 Many of Vincenz’s poems are disguised narrative pieces seemingly connected with a dreamlike, almost metaphysical logic. His sparse, but poignant, imagery belies the substantial emotions and mnemonic thought subsumed within. For more of my review go here: http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2023/06/the-pearl-diver-of-irunmani-by-marc.html

Sunday, April 30, 2023

My Poem, Lilith Appears at the All-Souls Lounge, Published

My poem, Lilith Appears at the  All-Souls Lounge, has just been published by the Lily Poetry Review (Issue 9, Winter 2023). I am honored. Thank you to Editor-in-Chief Eileen Cleary and her staff. Many other excellent poems are within.


Monday, April 3, 2023

Review of the Ruined Millionaire by Ben Mazer

Internalized reality and memory need inspired, mindful editing to reach their fated shape of first-rate poetry. Ben Mazer showcases his skills as the genre’s perfect (or, at least, near-perfect) editor in his new book, The Ruined Millionaire. Somehow, in the evident density of Mazer’s work, his mirrored image metaphorically seems to appear distributing versified handbills that alert his already captured audience to the celebration of self-consciousness unquestionably underway. Oxidized word-bronzes and broken shards of stained-glass history are reinvigorated by this poet into contemporary, albeit runic, measures. Here the mind’s suzerainty is never in doubt. And Mazer is nothing if not the self-conscious observer of his own cognizant creations. For more of my review go here: http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2023/04/the-ruined-millionaire-by-ben-mazer_3.html


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Psalms Composed in Utter Darkness Published


My latest book, Psalms Composed in Utter Darkness, has just been published and is available at the publisher's site. Here is the link: https://www.dosmadres.com/shop/psalms-composed-in-utter-darkness-by-dennis-daly/

This book is also available at the Grolier Poetry Book Shop, 6 Plympton St., Cambridge, MA.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Covers of My Forthcoming Book



Here is the front cover of my soon-to-be- released book, Psalms Composed in Utter Darkness. Thank you to Dos Madres editor Robert Murphy and Elizabeth Murphy for her marvelous design.          

This is the back cover of my forthcoming book from Dos Madres, Psalms Composed in Utter Darkness. Special thanks to Denise Provost, who wrote this generous and upbeat blurb, and also contributed savvy advice on the text. 

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Review of My Report from the Uwharries

 Ranging over and through the world of the imagination, gathering details, and illuminating the poetic high ground found between the unfathomable and the understood is no mean feat. In her newest collection of poetry, My Report from the Uwharries, Irene Mitchell leads us along the ancient paths of mood and metaphor finding, of all things, a wry, contemplative vision of harmony. For more of my review of My Report from the Uwharries go here: http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2022/12/my-report-from-uwharries-by-irene.html

3 New Poems just Published by Lothlorien Poetry Journal

Three of my poems were just published by Lothlorien Poetry Journal: Bypassing the All-Souls Lounge, Ash Wednesday at the All-Souls Lounge, and Boethius Has Second Thoughts at the All-Souls Lounge. My thanks to the editor, Strider Marcus Jones. Here is the link: https://lothlorienpoetryjournal.blogspot.com/2022/12/three-poems-by-dennis-daly.html

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Sunken Boats

My daughter drives us through the old delta, past the fish sign, into the town. The sea has receded one hundred miles. Pathetic man-made canals scar the foreground, reach outward to bring the waters back. 

Splotches of gray-green weed angle up through the pesticide poisons, search for the scorching sun.  We walk into the great basin, pace off distances between sunken boats, rusted hulks settled on an ancient seabed once busy with numinous fish, nibbling in amazing multitudes—a different time, a time of believers, when clouds and rain and children’s shallow splashing limned this Eden. 

Beyond the horizon, Resurrection Island, a facility for biological evil, no longer quarantined by water, issues its next weapons-grade plague, oozing ever outward to what once was the mainland, to a tangled remnant of human kind, hardened, awaiting new horrors.

A truck in a dust cocoon squeals to a stop on the access road, next to our car. Two men jump off, inspect their tires, all the while sizing us up, smelling for weakness fifty yards away. I’m walking towards them fast. I try to look unhesitant and threatening. They decide to leave, disappear, dust and all, into the sea’s desiccant fathoms.

Everyone is sick in Muynak: anemia, tuberculosis, cancers. Their future, like their sea, has ebbed away. People speak of death as a wandering friend, now returned, welcomed. Government officials, we’re told, arrive in packs almost monthly, wring their hands, and write reports that detail another five year plan.

The river that fed this sea and awed Alexander the Great, the Oxus, once mighty, dies in a desert hole, its strength siphoned by cotton crops: its former dreams of hurricane swells no longer viable. A river paradise turned phantom.

There used to be canning factories on the bluff, overlooking the harbor. Industry and the fish-harvest defined all the geography that mattered.

We pass beggars and street children losing color, depth; half wraith, they wave or beckon or both. It’s as if hell cannot maintain its solidity.

 A sand storm follows us south through Nukus: our windows sealed to no avail. Wild camels cross the road. They are cooked locally and eaten here by inhabitants of yurts.

 The momentary ado of an accident appears on the road. Someone has been killed. Hit and run, I think. We ease by.

First Blogged 2013

Monday, December 5, 2022

Waiting for the Suicide Bomber

Wais, the bartender and part owner of the Hotel, waves his Glock in the air like a blessing. On cue, four beefy men, two on each side of the bar, pull their weapons out, check their magazines, compare. The men, all in their mid-thirties, all wearing jeans, are contractors, probably. Wais’ dum-dum bullets impress, carry the day.

I grab my draft beer and pretend to sneer at the Yankees fan beside me. Mid fifties I’d say, quieter than the others, except when pontificating on his favorite sports team. He heads security at the airbase, or so he says.

Can I get through the Salang tunnel? I ask out loud. Wais thinks so. All four of the contractors agree. Opium trucks queue up all day long, at about ten thousand feet. They let them through at night, after the construction workers leave. Concoct some story and stick with it; they’ll let you through too.

Last week I drove up there, says Wais. Didn’t get through, but I had a woman with me—a reporter.  Tried to impress her; it wasn’t my day. The warlord Fahim runs things up there.

I hold up the palm of my gunless hand to interrupt and tell Wais I had dinner with the UN people last night, mostly Irish and Aussie. They tell me they can’t go overland, it’s too dangerous. They fly up to Mazar or over to Herat.

Jack, the drunk on my left, calls for another beer and tells me some bullshit story of his heroics in Bosnia. Then he says, let me ask you something. When you drive around a bend in the mountains and three AKs are pointing at your windshield, what are you going to do? Maybe you better ask your driver. I don’t like this guy, but he has a point.

A German in his late twenties sits across from me. A motorcyclist, reckless and robbed twice, he tells us his story. His government, he says, pulled strings to get him across the Friendship Bridge up north, after he had camped out there for a week, embarrassing the Uzbeks. He whines: they stole everything. He orders a beer and pays in cash.

I’m not leaving, says a defiant Wais to no one.

Past a gaggle of heavily armed, turbaned guards in the lobby—not one under fifty, I walk outside for some air. A line of black SUVs are parked in front of the hotel, bumper to bumper. The guards had just come. I hadn’t noticed the SUVs earlier.

Evening grays gather, soften storefront shapes in moonlight. Dust tamped down below the mountain tops and usual stars. The air better now, breathable.

Tomorrow I’ll walk away from this, down Chicken Street, past the antique shops, while men are pushed against mud walls and packages are pawed open and gun turrets turn accusingly in green armored vehicles.

 I go back in. My place held by a near-empty beer mug.

-- Took place in 2003
-- originally blogged January 27, 2013

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Pushcart Nomination


Thank you to the editors of Ibbetson Street-- poetry editor Harris Gardner, as well as Lawrence Kessenich, and Ravi Yelamanchili, for nominating me for a Pushcart Prize for a poem published in 2022. The award is actually made in 2023. The other nominees are Charles Coe, Claire Scott, Joyce B. Lazarus, Ruth Hoberman, and Deborah Leipziger. Here is the link: http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2022/11/ibbetson-street-pushcart-nominees-for.html

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Veterans Day


Veterans Day 2022

Veterans Day 2022



My Boy Jack  -- by Rudyard Kipling


'Have you news of my boy Jack?'
Not this tide.
'When d'you think that he'll come back?'
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.
'Has anyone else had word of him?'
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing and this tide.

'Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?'
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind-
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.
Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!

Labor Organizer


Apropos of Nothing

My will is easy to decide
For I have nothing to divide
My kin don't need to weep and moan
Moss does not cling to a rolling stone

My body? oh, if I could choose
I would to ashes it reduce
And let the merry breezes blow
My dust to where some flowers grow

Perhaps some fading flower then
Would soon rise up and grow green again
This is my last and final will
Good luck to all of you,
                        Joe Hill
Labor organizer. IWW Wobbly.
Executed in November of 1915, Salt lake City, Utah. 
Claimed he wouldn't be caught dead in Utah.  

Friday, November 4, 2022

Three Untethered Psalms Composed by John Faustus and Playing Pinball at the All-Souls Lounge Published

 Two of my poems, Three Untethered Psalms by John Faustus and Playing Pinball at the All-Souls Lounge have just been published by the Lothlorien Poetry Journal. Much thanks to the editor, Strider Marcus Jones.  Here is the link: https://lothlorienpoetryjournal.blogspot.com/2022/11/two-poems-by-dennis-daly.html

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Review of Annapurna Poems by Yuyutsu Sharma

Are poets good for nothing? Plato certainly didn’t trust them. He believed that poets make things happen, but they are immoral, specializing in the pleasure of illusion and falsity. Mimesis (imitation), poetry’s stock in trade, moreover, corrupts society’s youth. For Plato philosophy (truth-telling), rather than poetry is the real deal. On the other end of the spectrum Archibald MacLeish, taking his cue from Aristotle, argues in his Ars Poetica that “A poem should not mean/ But be.” He believed in the aesthetic value above all, art for art’s sake.

 Between these two extremes of active ethical change and passive aesthetic stasis there is a third possibility—poets, through poetry, guide their readers to rarified perceptions of existing phenomena and, through them, unlimited, sometimes prototypical, potentialities. For more of my review of Annapurna Poems go here: http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2022/10/annapurna-poems-poems-new-and-collected.html