Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly by Darren C. Demaree Review by Ani Keaten

For readers of Unbroken, Darren C. Demaree needs no introduction; but if you haven’t read him, you can find several of his stunning prose poems in our past issues, the latest being his, Here We Are, Sore, in the October issue.

I recently had the privilege of reading an advance copy of Demaree’s latest book, Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly.

This mountainous collection of poetry was rewarding to scale. Demaree weaves personal and human experience together, exploring themes of danger and hope, adversity and relationships, loss and mental illness. We join the author on this journey of discovery, learning more about the unknown “you” that follows along with us–at times intimate, friends or family, at times the poet himself, and at other times the reader.

Refreshing bits of humor are sprinkled throughout, giving us a chance to come up for air between heavy revelations. Demaree smoothly transitions from honest reflection on mental illness with lines like, “I have no bounce on the pills. I have only fear off of them,” to poking subtle fun at his own persona with lines like, “there is only so much I can do about being ornery & thirty-one at the same time.”

I enjoyed this book and found myself reading straight through titles and sections, letting the poems flow one into the next and form a picture that was worth waiting for. This collection will leave you pondering your own life in the bigger scheme of things, perhaps to conclude as Demaree does, to “never rise above a mountain that could be magic, if only we allowed it to be.”

Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly will be released November/December, 2016, from 8th House Publishing.

Visit Darren C. Demaree online to find out more about the author and his poetry.