“Emily As Sometimes the Forest Wants the Fire” by Darren Demaree

emily poems - elsieisy blog

A D V A N C E  P R A I S E

This whole collection is a love poem – tender, sexy, funny, meditative, and insightful – but it’s also a book about the Midwest and parenthood and the ways our responsibilities change us. As Demaree writes, “If Emily is entirely real / & here, we will see her.” Emily is – real, and here, in every stunning poem – and we do.   – Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones (Tupelo Press)

Reading Emily as Sometimes the Forest Wants the Fire by Darren Demaree is like hopping a fence and inding yourself in a woodland of obsessions and delights. With poems that wander in ways that reflect curiosity and commitment, Demaree draws us into a world where Emily is not just a muse or figure of admiration, but the center of a universe. “All of my failures // are gentle,” states the poem “Emily as the Ceremony Means So Little,” one of many moments that make peace with vulnerability and encourage the reader to do the same. Demaree builds upon the extended character sequence we may know from The Dream Songs and creates a tribute to a figure who defies every expectation, as “Art is open-aired / & Emily is art.” Stepping out of this book we feel exhilarated, aware of our own connections to others, and part of a mythos that elevates the ordinary to the otherworldly.  —Mary Biddinger, author of Partial Genius (Black Lawerence Press)

In Darren Demaree’s Emily As Sometimes the Forest Wants the Fire, Emily is avatar, obsession, muse, and myth: the Emily that arises from these poems is an adept shapeshifter transforming from a ghost deer to a “shadow folded four times” to a “love poem taken from a Chinese take-out menu.” She is a concept kept in motion in these lyrical, economical poems that showcase the “great industry of Emily,” as Demaree dances surefootedly across pages, pulling the reader into the pulse and hook of his compositions. The recurring “Emily as” becomes an incantation generating both urgency and intimacy, allowing Demaree to fashion a dazzling book-length love letter not only to Emily, but to life itself, acknowledging “I’ve used her name to live longer.” —Simone Muench, author of Wolf Centos (Sarabande Books)

This June, Harpoon Books will be publishing Darren Demaree eleventh collection of poetry “Emily as Sometimes the Forest Wants the Fire”.

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