Day #15: The Year of the Hog: “Eat the Storms” – Damien B. Donnelly

Over the next few weeks we are celebrating all of the Poets and their Collections that we have published in 2020.

Today’s collection makes me wonder exactly where you were when you first read a Damien B. Donnelly poem? Over the last few months, the man has seemingly single-handedly created a joy-tinged poetic wave of light and colour, both for his own work – deserving of more respect than a single paragraph can convey – but with a generosity of spirit and humour, bringing so many other poets into the light he casts through his energy and perpetual motion.

(Note: We have had him drug-tested, it is apparently natural.)

But it is Eat the Storms that we are celebrating here and if you haven’t experienced this stunning debut yet, this is surely your moment.

“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.

  • Order signed copies direct from Damien at his web site HERE
  • Order Print Copies HERE
  • Order eBook Copies HERE


“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.”

Jessica Traynor

About Damien B. 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.


Product details

  • ISBN: 978-1913499266
  • Pages: 34
  • Order signed copies direct from Damien at his web site HERE

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