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  • Writer's pictureKayleigh Willis

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT - Steve Denehan (poet)

We're shining the spotlight on some of the authors/poets who we feel really sum up the MONO. vibe. Steve Denehan is a poet from Kildare, Ireland and lives with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. He is the author of two chapbooks and three poetry collections. Winner of the Anthony Cronin Poetry Award and twice winner of Irish Times' New Irish Writing, his numerous publication credits include Poetry Ireland Review and Westerly.' We love his work and we think you will too:

Hi Steve, sum yourself up for us in one sentence:

I'm drawing a blank here which is not a good start! I suppose I'm a person that gets up each day and tries not to mess up too badly. What or who inspires your writing? I often write about people close to me or things that have happened during the day but I think, more than anything, I tend to write about small things. The small things are the big things really after all. Where do you like to write? I write in the sitting room on a laptop mostly but sometimes a line or a poem comes along when I'm out and about so the phone comes in handy then.

Early bird or night owl? Night owl for sure! I've never been a morning person at all. There's a different feel to the world at night time I think. What's your favourite quote? That's a tough one, in that I don't know a whole lot of quotes! The old Bukowski line of 'Find what you love and let it kill you.' is always a winner but I like the Tom Waits line, 'A gentleman is someone who can play the accordion, but doesn't.' Tom really is a quote machine.

Who's your favourite author/poet and why? Narrowing it down to just one author or poet is pretty much impossible I think. But the book I have reread most is 'The Catcher in the Rye' by JD Salinger. It's not exactly a hidden gem I know but it's as close to a perfect piece of writing as I have ever read. I read it once every few years or so and each time it affects me just as deeply. Words of wisdom/writing advice?

Be brave enough to keep things simple. Complicated doesn't always mean better.

Poetry by Steve Denehan:

Mirrored Shades

There is such a thing

as mirror spray paint

I had no idea and plan

to stock up on it

to step into the garden and spray

every inch of myself

from my toenails

to the hair on my head

with a pair of mirrored shades

I will be invisible

I will walk down the street

through shopping malls

through the park

reflecting the world

back at itself

people might notice me

as a distortion

a ripple in the air

moving past

they might look at me

but they will only see themselves

which, when you get down to it

is all

they really want to see


November 2nd, 2021

I hadn’t expected it

just two days after Halloween

but on it came

during a break in the snooker

the first ad

for Christmas

I don’t even know

what it was for

but there was snow

a smiling family running

into the kitchen

crackers being pulled

all soundtracked

by a lilting version

of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

I thought of my mother and father

of other people

in other homes

watching angrily

strange bitterness boiling in them

steaming from them in clichés

It’s getting earlier every year!

Halloween has just been and gone!

It’s all a money racket!

Ridiculous, just ridiculous!

I look out the window

white clouds

hang in the blue sky

a half dozen birds

flit to and from the bird feeder

they are all the same

small, yellow-breasted

I don’t know what they are called


I ate the back of my hand last night

in a half-dream


everything was vivid

besides the pain

of which there was none

the flesh was all texture and no taste

a gelatinous resistance

to my teeth and tongue

I saw the long, thin bones of my hand

moving smoothly up and down

as though seeing the workings

of a clock

with no face

online, I discovered

that there are experts for dreams

but not nightmares

people detailed their dreams on a forum

received analytical responses

were grateful

for a stranger’s insight

into their own subconscious

there were dreams of falling, murder

car crashes, drowning, being buried alive

I found just one instance of someone

eating their own hand

the analysis they received

spoke of a crisis of identity

a fear of losing the sense of self

or of being consumed by ambition

or obsession or a tendency

towards self-destruction or a yearning

to be a better communicator

each dream expert had a different explanation

often contrasting and conflicting

always vague

until anonymouse_weezil wrote

maybe it’s just a fuckin dream

which, in the end

is what I went with

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