I’m not sure what to say about Damien Donnelly that could possibly capture the freshness of his poetry, the Magneto-sparky-energy of everything he does or the fact that he is quite simply a lovely chap, but regardless of my lack of word-power, I am delighted to announce that we are publishing his debut collection next week and that you can now pre-order it, signed, direct from the chap himself.
And why am I so verily chuffed? Well, in simple terms it is brilliant. Damien has that something that is really elusive and I seem to spend most of my life these days looking for – a wee difference, an added ingredient that can’t be taught, a certain something.
He is simply put, something special and I fully realise how lucky I am that my teensy press will be a footnote in a future, illustrious history that is yet to be written of his glorious career.
Not to oversell it, or anything.
As ever, we want you to read our books and totally encourage you to support our poets by buying their work directly from them and Damien has ‘Eat the Storms’ listed on his web site HERE
About Damien Donnelly
Damien, 44, Dublin born, returned to Ireland in 2019 after 23 years in Paris, London and Amsterdam, has been writing since childhood, poetry and short stories questioning identity, sexuality and fragility. His daily interests revolve around falling over and learning how to get up again while making delicious cakes. He’s been featured in the books ‘Second Chance’ from Original Writing, ‘Body Horror’ from Gehenna & Hinnom, ‘Nous Sommes Paris’ from Eyewear Publishing and The Runt Magazine. Online, he has been featured in Coffin Bell, Black Bough Poetry, Scribe Base, Barren Magazine. This is his debut collection of poetry and he is honoured to be in the hands of The Hedgehog Press.
- Title: Eat the Storms
- ISBN: 978-1913499266
- Pages: 34
- Order from Amazon HERE
- Order signed and annotated copies direct from Damien at his web site HERE
“This is a richly-suggestive, highly-vivid collection of poems, depicting a wide canvas of emotional landscapes with painter-like precision. The intensely visual aspect of Donnelly’s writing is encapsulated in ‘The Irises of our Eyes’, where the poetic speaker is caught up in a visionary experience, where nature, art and language become one.
‘Crazed caught on canvas, caught in colour,
thought tempered in sweeping strokes-
we can be carried away in seas of grass’
It’s no surprise that Donnelly is also a painter and designer and repeated references to colour amplify and intensify emotions in rhapsodic waves of word-pictures, provoking intense feelings of joy and grief, as seen in the poignant ‘Tattered brown trousers’, where the fragilities of a father are darkly-depicted.
‘Eat the Storms’ is a sensory reading experience, with an accessible, appealing and multi-layered voice. Each new reading reveals different shades of meaning and all the nuances of Donnelly’s lyric voice. At once tender and lyrical, there are poignant and troubling moments throughout: the pain of experience – ‘the simple route the river runs, the rustle of the red rose tipped with thorns’; the recurring motif of fragile relationships; the conflicting desires for belonging and freedom; the gut-wrenching theme of being deserted; the complexities of identity and the ever-shifting sense of self we experience – ‘beneath the red ink tipped into this flesh’.
This is a striking, powerful collection, which achieves a balance between a personal, expansive and lyric style and the taut control needed to achieve fine poetry.”
Matthew M. C. Smith – Poet and editor of Black Bough Poetry.
“Damien Donnelly is the archduke of alliteration and a poet in love with colour and sensuality. The poems in this first collection pop with blinding whites, rich reds and purples, and the yellow of Van Gogh sunflowers. They are jazz riffs on journeys, prisms chasing and catching the light. There is darkness too, in lines such as “Father ate all the flowers/in the back garden”, and there are slower poems of self-assessment, including this finely achieved passage in “Red Ink”:
“I am looking
to find a new shape; turning back, returning,
recalling that first mark, to measure how far
from it I ran, to see what was left behind…”
Above all, there is a sweeping positive energy, a welcoming of all that the world has to offer, and a certainty that “dark doors open often into hopeful”.”
Catherine Ann Cullen
“In a pamphlet saturated in colour, Damien Donnelly takes us on an immersive journey through a landscape of pigments. Written with great lyricism and emotional intensity, these poems contrast darker hues with lighter tones to create a sequence of poems that will linger in the memory.”