where the writers are
What Bright Messages!
Date of Review: 
Published Work: 
Ciara LaVelle

May 21, 2010

Yes, we’ve featured Andrew Demcak’s latest book, A Single Hurt Color, before. But that was before we’d had a copy in our own hands. Now that I’ve turned its last pages, I’m happy to report that Demcak has produced a collection of mesmerizing poetry that warrants another, deeper look.

Collected into three sections — Third Person, Second Person and First Person — the pieces throughout showcase Demcak’s inimitable voice in a variety of formats. Consistent throughout is the poet’s gift for evoking entire scenes in just a few lines:

The open mouth of his hat left on the bed,

Many poems are expert compilations of these scenes, presented without introduction or explanation, to create the narrative of the poem. The flow of the book itself often seems to intimate a plot as well — pieces about the death of loved ones followed by a mournful scene; explorations of addiction followed by a piece titled “Relapse.”

But whatever broader story lies beneath, it never outshines the poetry itself: languid and descriptive sometimes, blunt and cutting at others, but crisp with action from start to finish.

For another peek inside, check out today’s feature on Demcak at Verse Daily.

—Ciara LaVelle,
Editor, The Furnace Review