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Review of A Single Hurt Color by Andrew Demcak
Published Work: 
A Single Hurt Color

Demcak weaves pop culture references into poems like Trinidad and Duhamel. He has a talent for writing lines that will be remembered long after you place A Single Hurt Color on your shelf. It is a given that Demcak will be remembered; he's a rising star in American poetry.

--Dustin Brookshire, editor Limp Wrist Magazine

The poems in A Single Hurt Color take us on winding, asymmetrical paths of loss, love, and grace. Demcak knows when language must be talky and when it must be tight, and, as a result, these poems unfold in an expansive “pageant of tongues.” He revels in sound, in rhythm, in all that makes the world simultaneously wobbly and secure. The present moment comes alive in the residue of the past, whether Demcak is quarreling with Freud on the beach, elegizing Versace, or serenading literary influences such as Zbigniew Herbert, Wallace Stevens, and, of course, Gertrude Stein.

--Tony Trigilio, author, The Lama’s English Lesson

The title of Andrew Demcak’s new book, A Single Hurt Color, is borrowed from the Gertrude Stein poem “A Carafe, That Is a Blind Glass” which very much reminds me of the broken snow globe at the beginning of Orson Welles’ classic "Citizen Kane." Like that film, Demcak renders a view of the world through the filter of a shard, exposing the sharper edges, while at other times opening the reader's eye to a new shade. The poet colors pop culture, politics, nature, science, relationships and reflections, with a piercing command of language, while employing a keenly tuned ear to the music of each word.

--J.P. Dancing Bear, editor, The American Poetry Journal

The prolific Andrew Demcak returns in his third poetry collection, a single hurt color, with his pithy and succinct lyrics, full of agile turns and that crisp music we have come to know and appreciate from him. This time around Demcak organizes his work into three sections that explore our daily grammatical relationships to the world. Indeed, taking a cue from Gertrude Stein with the collection’s title, grammar is the thing that connects us, to the world and to each other. And so you will find Demcak’s consciousness starting broad, touching, holding, studying the objects and things and people of the third person, then narrowing to the more intimate “you” as a myriad of second persons are addressed, ending with the very immediate and singular first person “I” and the stories that make up that identity. While the list of objects and persons, living and dead, that people these poems are too numerous to list, each is chosen carefully for you to consider. You will read and re-read these poems as if it is the first time you’ve encountered the world as the world is refracted back to you through the hue of a “single hurt color,” that lens of a wine-blushed kaleidoscope.

--Matthew Hittinger, author of Narcissus Resists & Pear Slip

Andrew Demcak opens yet more vistas into that seductive world he continues to create in his new book of poems, A Single Hurt Color. And even for the polished practiced linguist he has revealed before, this sturdy volume reaches even higher marks on the rising tide of his young career. Demcak is a wizard with words, a sorcerer and lusty sensualist who is able to paint indelible images that may fly past the reader’s eye as in his haiku settings, or linger in the musky flavors of physical encounters experienced or imagined. He whisks us away on journeys to other times, other places, dabbles with thoughts of Kurt Cobain, Wallace Stevens and Freud, channels Icarus, Samson and Delilah, and Joseph Smith, tinkers with lovesongs to mussels and orchids, and summons some of the most erotic scenes imaginable. Demcak at once entertains, challenges, seduces, and puzzles us with some of the finest new work being birthed today – a poet shaman!

--Grady Harp

Demcak loads his poems with nouns, the hard actualities of existence, whether literary (Wallace Stevens, Poe), pop cultural (iPhones, Kurt Cobain), or the wider world of meteorite ALH841, New Zealand mussels with their "catholic gills," and Margaret Thatcher. And just as the world presents itself without explanatory guide, so too do many of these poems: "A Single Hurt Color" with its clear images of devastation and estrangement (but whose?), or the sharp objective correlatives of "Go Now Before It Starts Snowing." Others, like "Snapshot" and its cruel fiancé/husband, cleanly and painfully delineate their intent. I do not always know exactly what Demcak is "saying," but one cannot fail to recognize the “meaning” of his poetry in this collection, of family, death and sensuality.

--Cooper Renner, editor elimae magazine

With or without a glossy finish, “dry & flightless,” (from the last poem “Relapse”) Demcak’s pages turn & tilt with ingredients only he could compose. If you're a passenger, riding with Demcak is a most interesting adventure. In A Single Hurt Color, capturing the moment is a success: interiors blend with exteriors, histories become part of the present & doubts turn into beliefs. With a word choice that will caulk any of the reader's missing spots, A Single Hurt Color is bound to shine solidly.

--- J. Michael Wahlgren, editor of Gold Wake Press