Sam Roxas-Chua reviewed “The Nineteen Steps Between Us” in Red Truck Review.
Darren Demaree is a poet who understands the natural attenuations of the body. His authorial sense causes an amplification of precise language that enables him to illuminate the beautiful couplet form. Something in the way Demaree orchestrates his words invites one to read the collection out loud: “I will know / the pace of my gait / & the context / for my speed, how lion / I can be without / showing my teeth.” Demaree’s voice is clear and I am taken by his ability to carry equipoise in all Nineteen Steps Between Us—avowals that speak directly from an awareness of the self and the other: “Strong being / you are / forward, /even in slump- /ing, you / have angles / of an animal that flies / when declared /a bird.” This is the dialect of attention. Darren displays on paper what the artist Paul Klee meant when he said, “One eye sees, the other feels.” Demaree’s ability to call, awaken, and express an honesty that is slowly dying in our culture is crucial.