Parsing the Echoes / Dane Hamann


Parsing the Echoes

poems by

Dane Hamann

~68 pages, $14 (+ shipping)

Release Date: March 29, 2023

The Advance Sale Discount price on this title has expired. For those who prefer to pay by check, the price is $18/book (which includes shipping) and should be sent to: Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001. 

PLEASE NOTE: Ordering in advance of the release date entitles the buyer to a discount. It does not mean the book will ship before the date posted above and the price only applies to copies ordered through the Main Street Rag Online Bookstore.

Dane Hamann works as an editor and indexer for a textbook publisher in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University, later serving as the poetry editor of TriQuarterly for over five years. He is the poet-in-residence for, a newsletter/website devoted to professional cycling. His chapbook Q&A was published by Sutra Press and his micro-chapbooks have been included in multiple Ghost City Press Summer Series. His first full-length collection A Thistle Stuck in the Throat of the Sun was published by Kelsay Books in 2021.

Dane digs under the surface of each canvas, and also under the earth and under our skin, for these poems. At turns spare and elegant like a ballet solo, and at other times dense with the passion for words, Dane’s gorgeous poetry dips, glides, soars. We stop at paintings we didn’t notice in the museum. And we discover favourite paintings as if for the first time with fresh sight. ~Lorette C. Luzajic, author, Winter in June, editor, The Ekphrastic Review


Dane Hamann’s Parsing Echoes is the best ekphrastic poetry collection I’ve read in a long time. The individual poems and the sequence as a whole are everything they need to be. Highly recommended! ~John Burroughs, U.S. National Beat Poet Laureate and the author of Rattle and Numb


As a lake’s mirror draws heaven nearer, reflection delineating the reservoir’s perimeter, so the poems in Parsing the Echoes collapse the distance between artist and witness, between poet and reader, inviting us to linger in conversations of the interior until our own depths are awash in clarifying light. Here, where sunflowers become human and King David is reduced to a plastic toy, we cannot stop ourselves from reaching for what hurts us. And yet, though it offers no escape, Dane Hamann’s art reminds us, someone wished us safe. ~Jennifer Sperry Steinorth, author of Her Read, A Graphic Poem

Paper Birch

after “Summer Night” by Eilif Peterssen


There are words written in the emerald
water, in the sapphire reflection of sky.
Reeds and rushes scrawling a script of
tranquility. I’ve been staring too long

at oily sheens in the gutters of big buildings.
I forgot what it is I want to be wanting.
The beauty of a paper birch gently kissing
the pond’s mirrored face. The sweet rot

of old leaves and peatbog rising gently
to my nose. A gathering of water lilies
like a frozen murmuration. The moon
neither drowned nor floating. So often

I’ve imagined leaving the loud streets,
turning my back to the dour echo of
sun between glass and steel, and meeting
you at this water’s edge that I sometimes

believe I’m already there. Leaves ticking
like inconsequential clocks. Trees bent to skim
the pond. The words there almost forming
a convincing argument for me to stay.







after “Moonlight” by Edvard Munch


This outburst of your mind
is a lungful of night. Your hand

just glides through every open space.
Consider this sky and shoreline,

a thin white channel of bone
dripping like wax. A cloistered

midsummer awash in a cold palette.
Maybe it’s all cloud to you, or sunset

triggered by a push-button moon.
You plump up the scene. Impossibly

swollen boughs, starving toothpick trees.
Your best choice, an island. A shadow

of bedrock brushed weightless
with gray. The night is unanchored.

I choke on the heat of pre-dinner
drinks, my heart caroming inside

a perfectly sized shot glass. Pour me one
more, painter, anchor me to your shore.



after “The White Mare II” by August Strindberg


Was it limewash or a fugitive
ray of sunlight perfectly cast
onto the rain-soaked wood
that reflected an out-of-place
brightness in the storm?

Water lashed everything. Sky
pelting the sea, sea smashing
the sodden cliff gray and blue.
Tell me, artist. What seared
this image into your memory?

The wooden seamark standing
skeletal and brilliant atop the rocks.
Chevrons of timber nailed to a post,
looking almost tree-like again.
Any captain could’ve spotted it.

But you truly saw it.
The lonesome beacon. The vivid
reminder that somewhere
in the angry storms that sometimes
batter us, someone wished us safe.


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