Andrew Demcak's new book, A Single Hurt Color, reminds me of the broken snow globe at the beginning of "Citizen Kane." Demcak renders a view of the world through the filter of a shard with a piercing command of language, and an ear keenly tuned to the music of each word. -J.P. Dancing Bear, editor, The American Poetry Journal
A Single Hurt Color takes us on winding, asymmetrical paths of loss, love, and grace. Demcak knows when language must be talky and when it must be tight, and, as a result, these poems unfold in an expansive "pageant of tongues." He revels in sound, in rhythm, in all that makes the world simultaneously wobbly and secure. -Tony Trigilio
Andrew Demcak opens yet more vistas into that seductive world he continues to create in his new book of poems a single hurt color. And even for the polished practiced linguist he has revealed before, this sturdy volume reaches even higher marks on the rising tide of his young career. Demcak is a wizard with words, a sorcerer and lusty sensualist who is able to paint indelible images that may fly past the reader’s eye as in his haiku settings as in the following perfect three line 5/7/5 setting:
I’m wet all over
from the tart smack of your voice
on my new iPhone.
or linger in the musky flavors of physical encounters experienced or imagined. His ability to present the reader with immaculate depictions of sensual encounters is one of his strongest assets as in Obscene Caller,
All that muffled silence,
then the edge of orgasm.
You thought that sex would mean forever.
You never asked who he was.
The problem wired in distance.
Your eardrum didn’t need help;
you laid down with his voice completely.
A creature of hungers,
you wanted to fuck 1,000 middle-class men.
But you were young;
you swam in his need,
Demcak works in homages to fellow poets and friends, so connected is he to the community of artists in which he finds such admiration. At Abalone Cove is ‘for Matthew Hittinger’, another brilliant young poet:
Like kelp hung from a dead ship’s planks,
naked before his towel,
pubic hair wet on his cock,
a young Poseidon washed up on the tan shore.
The ocean’s rhythmic yawn buoying in,
while the various gulls and men came to collect its prizes.
A wave’s quick swallowing.
After days of sexless calm came this ripe character,
a young man shared between the sea and me.
And though many writers attempt to cope with the profound losses of death and dying and terminal illness, Demcak manages to stun us with his personalization of concept as in Positive:
Final vowels I’d memorize,
The unknown alphabet of his sperm articulated its sentence on my lips.
collar politely slathering,
tiny double helix.
I’d met him by the urinal.
DNA was a conjugation of blood I’d learn to read or concede to
Andrew Demcak brings speech and words to arenas such as same sex issues as well as any poet writing today, as the examples above suggest. But not all of his poetry deals with these Technicolor physical encounters. He does understand how to offer us bits of beauty. He whisks us away on journeys to other times, other places, dabbles with thoughts of Kurt Cobain, Wallace Stevens and Freud, channels Icarus, Samson and Delilah, and Joseph Smith, tinkers with lovesongs to mussels and orchids, and summons some of the most erotic scenes imaginable. Demcak at once entertains, challenges, seduces, and puzzles us with some of the finest new work being birthed today – a poet shaman!
- Grady Harp, a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist.