Days of Falling Flesh and Rising Moons

Days of Falling Flesh and Rising Moons

4.8 (5 ratings by Goodreads)
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Steve Denehan's wholehearted response to family life is the cornerstone of this wise and canny book. Through the tiny, everyday moments, we come to know an energetic seven-year-old daughter, a wife whose presence heals, a father aging into forgetfulness, and a host of others. We see bonds between parent and child strengthen through conversations about dinosaur-shaped clouds, questions about death, quiet humming, loud car-singing, evening bike rides. We witness an adult father re-seeing his own childhood, the parental decisions which had shaped him, and the decisions which he and his spouse are making as they give their Robin her wings. As songwriter Mark Nevin says, Steve Denehan is a "beautiful soul with an all too rare lightness of touch."

In "Adopted," for instance, we study a packet of photos delivered by an unknown uncle. In "Your Old Cherry Datsun," we watch a role reversal as our

poet/narrator addresses the only father he's known, one with whom he can sing himself hoarse, but who now has trouble with simple tasks:

"You are still my father/ but you are changed/ and you are other minor-key words/ unsure/ fading/ nervous/ elderly/ forgetful/ you are still my father/ but

sometimes, now/ in these darkening dusks/ I have the privilege/ of being yours."

Structurally, Days of Falling Flesh and Rising Moons is fluid and natural, with poems about stage fright or lizards intermixed with those about lung cancer and love. Quick surges of anger are paired with lullaby moments, and lullaby moments might be followed by nightmares, or by memories of

being a slightly wild lad called DENO. Deeply personal poems may be surrounded and balanced by pieces of cultural history. The final defeat of a once-famous boxer is described with anguished empathy, for example, as is "The Last Dance of Eva Braun." Fantasies about becoming increasingly mechanical-until you aren't sure whether you're made of bone or metal--find their places between celebrations of birds and bogs, and a magical December day so sunny it seems to be summer.

The collection was finished before a virus named Covid-19 shook the globe and sent Ireland into a

complete lockdown. However, that event seemed to require poetry, so ten of this collection's final poems are

late additions, Denehan's responses to the pandemic. Taken together, they constitute a

microcosm, not just of the Covid-19 world but of this poet's interior landscape. They range from

shock to acceptance, from strict observance of painful rules to moments of deep peace and ...

bright wings.

Such intertwining keeps readers aware that both happiness and pain can be fragile, easily cracked or

crumbled. Though wholehearted devotion to a rich family life is the collection's cornerstone, it's

the awareness of complexity that gives Denehan's Days of Falling Flesh and Rising Moons its essential shape.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 152 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 8mm | 181g
  • English
  • 1952232503
  • 9781952232503
  • 428,891

Review quote

Denehan's elegant diction and crisp observations combine to form poetry that captures life in vivid Polaroids that resonate like memories brought to life. These poems are steeped in an honesty and curiosity that grants readers with hope, and peace of mind, while reminding us to dream.

---Nate Ragolia, publisher at Spaceboy Books, author of There You Feel Free and The Retroactivist

My mum told me we should leave the world a bit better than we found it; she would have approved of

Steve Denehan, as do I, a beautiful soul with an all too rare lightness of touch.

---Mark Nevin, BRIT Award winner, songwriter for Fairground Attraction, Sandie Shaw, Morrissey, and Ringo Starr

Denehan is sort of like Bukowski, if Bukowski wrote while drinking rather than drunk. It's proof that

poetry doesn't need to be complicated to tell a damn good story.

---Chris Margolin, editor of The Poetry Question.

I have described Steve Denehan's writing as poetry that stops time. His poems take you into the center of

moments where real life happens, and then his flawless writing takes your breath away. He is a master of

showing the richness, complexity and beauty of everyday life. His poems have an accessibility and

familiarity that makes you want to read them again and again. His is the best of contemporary poetry.

---Susan Richardson, author of The Things My Mother Left Behind

This is a very complete, nuanced and lyrical body of work, and one which speaks to Steve's immense talent.

---Ciara Plunkett, award-winning Irish radio broadcaster
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Rating details

5 ratings
4.8 out of 5 stars
5 80% (4)
4 20% (1)
3 0% (0)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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