Not For Art Nor Prayer by Darren Demaree

Darren Demaree’s Not For Art Nor Prayer is a peek into his most private thoughts. One can’t help but get the feeling that they are somehow peering into Demaree’s mind and reading everything he was too shy to say to everyone ranging from a manager at Kroger’s – to his grandmother – to his wife, Emily. Demaree is sincere, yet unabashed in his self-titled “adorations”.

It is a rebellious act to be as candid as Demaree is in Not For Art Nor Prayer – and that is what grabs ahold of you and pulls you in. In the poem, “Emily as a Mango Hitting the Ground”, Demaree is transparent and vulnerable when saying “I did my best to imagine/a way for you to be unscathed/or cradled in good context./I simply failed to catch you.”

The same transparency is shown in another of his adorations, specifically “#100”, in which he admires the strength of a woman friend, “if she needed/only two steps/to be full-frame,/she would give you/one of them…” Demaree’s carefully selected stanzas invite readers to appreciate the fantastic traits of his muses.

Demaree is also well-versed in his own self-reflections, as shown in his “Wednesday Morning” series, which makes Not For Art Nor Prayer a well-rounded collection of work.

If Demaree felt apprehensive about letting the reader into his innermost thoughts, it surely didn’t show in his execution. Not For Art Nor Prayer feels genuine, thoughtful, and candid – and for that we are appreciative.