Darius Degher’s poems have appeared in numerous American and European literary magazines, including Measure, Smiths Knoll, Agenda, The Red Wheelbarrow, Equinox, Poetry Salzburg Review, and others. His collection To See the Sound was published in 2014 by David Robert Books. He’s the editor of the Shipwrights Review, at Malmö University, Sweden. He’s also a singer-songwriter with six CDs out (www.dariusdegher.com).
Praise for To See the Sound
“There's magic in these pagesa glittering eye carefully tuned to transporting rhythms, resonant moments, repeated song - choruses wide and deep enough to say Life! and Mystery! all at once.” Naomi Shihab Nye
“There is deep wisdom and joy to be found in Darius Degher’s latest collection, To See the Sound. In poems that balance elegant, well-crafted lines with the bite of a contemporary and original voice, Degher stuns the reader poem after poem with a formalism that, as the speaker hopes for in ‘In the City Lights Bookstore,’ is ‘holy and uncarved.’ Perhaps most striking is the poet’s deft examination of elusive issues such as time and mutability. For instance, in ‘Fiftieth Summer,’ the speaker desires to ‘make something that doubles and evolves / to do something that makes its meaning mean,’ and that is exactly what this collection does, speaking to the deep life of the individual and change we both fear and need. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.” Rob Griffith
“The poems in Darius Degher’s wonderful book To See the Sound do justice to a range of surprising subjects: invasive species, the orange’s place in world history, a newspaper’s report that Mohammed has become the most common name of newborn boys born in Malmo, Sweden. Sensuous, playful, and expertly crafted, this collection achieves that rare balance between intelligence and heart, presenting, in the poet’s own words, ‘pellucid divinity in corporeal clothes.’” April Lindner
“Darius Degher’s poems adroitly work between the old and the new. Here we have the ancient magic of metaphor-making combined with a richly musical handling of traditional meter. However, Degher’s ear and eye are tuned to the imagery, speech, and problems of now, and he understands the poet’s call to speak to his age and does so with great sensitivity and precision. It is to his credit that Google Earth and Facebook exist alongside Eden and ‘strata of stories / layer / on layer’ as he probes history, science, family, and the work of poetry itself to see what this world sounds like. This is a unique voice and an impressive collection. See it and hear it and rejoice.” Paul Bone
“Though many of the poems in To See the Sound are based on personal experience, there is nothing self-regarding in Darius Degher’s work. Here is a poet alive to the richness of the contemporary world and the ironies of his place within it. Evocative, earthy and humane, these personal narratives form bright eddies in the flow of historical timea movement that his work both recognises and resists, insisting on the living moment and its sense of connection. This is an eclectic and wise collection, revealing a fluid and subtle sense of form built from the cross-rhythms of language and meaning.” Graham Mort
"In these pages, Degher imagines his last request: ‘hammer me a craft.’ Indeed, the poems here are wrought with an artisan’s careful attention, a historian’s insight, and the wisdom of a seasoned traveler. With true measure, these poems soar toward a clear horizon." Chryss Yost
“Darius Degher's vivid and echoing poetry is born out of an impressive fusion of curiosity and compassion. With an explorer's instinct his poems map that borderline region between the material and immaterial worlds, from which he writes back with the kind of taut, intelligent lyricism and resonance which only comes from true poetic attention.” Jane Draycott
It holds the genesis of quince,
of kiwi, hemlock, daffodil,
of tamarack and cannabis.
A silent rampart in the ice,
protectorate of seeds,
I saw it in a magazine—
the samples in the millions
carried there by botanists
from all of earth’s geographies.
Just found some online images:
a steel sandcastle in the ice
but bigger, like a bastion.
Go ahead and google it:
the Svalbard Global Seed Vault,
Spitsbergen, Arctic Circle.
The seeds are safe and dry, they say,
will always be, dug in for good.
Even if the power fails
the stock will keep for centuries,
long after your own family tree
has lost its radix and history.
But then again—my mother’s eyes
appeared on Facebook yesterday
in a cousin I have never met.
Our features seed the hyperspace
like scraps of abandoned satellites,
past mega-servers, into laps
like species kept alive in zoos
because they have no habitat.
For a Grunion
I’d heard about you as a child,
pictured the full moons pulling you
away from home at peak high tides,
before I waded nighttime tides
to catch the glimmer of your life.
I see the other silversides,
jacksmelt and topsmelt, tittering
thick in schools of order and routine,
oblivious to your desires
beyond their ken, the water’s edge.
You seek the mica sparkles
in the risk of midnight sand
until what once seemed home recedes
and strands you flopping in the glow
to be picked up by children’s hands.
Summer of Little Seas
Rain drips from the apple trees
and I’m homesick yet again
after our summer of little seas.
We traced the fading vapor trails
of jets arcing the Öre Sound,
the Little Mermaid stranded there.
I called your name on Baltic beaches
over dunes of hourglass sand,
from beyond tufts of razor grass.
We romanticized the cozy barges
scrolled with trim of red and gold
in locks beside the Irish Sea.
Our toothpicks poked and probed
the tasty Adriatic snails
netted and borne away for us.
These storied waters,
mapped out in the fables of Europe,
have calmed me as museums can.
But the Pacific, a hemisphere from here,
rises under the outer buoys,
consigns the swells of coming dreams.
The Elegist Ages
The wide horizon I took in from there,
that bluff with never-ending ocean views,
extended onward into gleaming depths
to where the curvature of earth announced
the realm of dreamers and treasure hunters.
I heard them well, imagining the spoils
of future conquests on some promised shore.
I, too, fed from the bottomless bowl of hope.
Now, the shimmering limit tempts,
sparkling as it always has, perhaps,
but reveals a wholly different hope to me:
the promise of my children’s days instead.