Home About Dan Books / Reviews Events Selected Poems Slideshow / Video Contact  
Daniel Thomas Moran's latest book of poetry: A Shed for Wood.

A Shed for Wood

- 2014

Listen to an excerpt from "A Shed for Wood"

This book may be purchased from Salmon Poetry or ordered through your local bookstore.


"A Shed For Wood is Moran’s seventh poetry collection, his previous one having appeared in 2006. These poems were written as the poet entered his fifties, that time when if you’ve been lucky in their lives, your parents and the generation which influenced your childhood are going off the board; it is a natural time for taking stock and considering one’s own mortality in a changed light. So as might be expected there is an elegiac tone to many of these poems, especially near the end of the book (the poems often contain dates in their titles and so it seems they are organized roughly chronologically). Many artists have treated this stage of life in their work, so I look to this collection not so much for utterly new revelations about middle age as for the unique freshness that one artist brings to her or his grappling with the ancient problems in personal terms. And it is here that Moran doesn’t let me down; he has taken an unusual life path for a contemporary poet, which has led him to a fully realized personal voice in his work that immediately gives a clear sense of his specific human sensibility. Though this small volume is my first encounter with his poems, I feel that I know him. When he considers human behavior he tends to acknowledge kinship; he loves living in New Hampshire and finds his peaceful still point in the natural world; and when faced with the passing of time, aging, and death, he doesn’t raise his voice in anger or frustration — instead he will ask a question or make a healing joke. He is thoughtful, his moods subtle and collected, and he is nourished in his life by the satisfaction of love attained. There is no substitute for this last component in the voice of a poet: it imbues everything he sees and says with positive energy. Though we need and naturally warm to this, it is too rarely encountered in life or letters, and it gives Daniel Thomas Moran’s work an extra value."

- Al Basile
An excerpt

"Overall, I feel like this poetry collection is called A Shed for Wood for good reason. For me, the meaning of this title comes from the idea that wood is crucial for housing and heat, which helps us sustain life. And this book behaves like a storage unit for such life, and everything that it entails. As readers, it is up to us to make each piece of wood count for something, and to carry it as far as we can go. We are capable of creating a house of new meaning, and it is important to invite others in."

- Emily Pineau

"From the turtles hatching in the Galapagos to a lamentable encounter with Patti Smith in the Hamptons and a bug perishing in his drink, Daniel Thomas Moran sees it all through a master poet's eyes: the poignancy, the tenderness, the comical, and the just plain absurd. To bear witness to these moments is to experience the Divinity and the irony that is life."

And it all transpires in
twenty-seven minutes, more or less.
The previously prepared dish
emerging as a Queen from her carriage
All delivered to a platter like
the virgin on her wedding night.
~"Watching People Cook on TV"

"But when Moran wants to deliver a punch to your guts, he succeeds. In Newtown he asks,"Who among us has words / to explain the slaughter / of the babies of strangers? / Who are these people / we claim not to know / but us?" and indeed, it's all about us humans being humans. How lucky we are to have poets like Moran to remind us to look around and be enchanted. What a beautiful book this is!"

- Robin Stratton
The Boston Literary Review

"The collection reveals traces of a poet who has known his share of suffering, but who doesn’t feel the need to push it down the reader’s throat. There are observations of the possibilities/meanings of spirituality, sometimes made directly as in ‘Christmas Eve at the Waldorf-Astoria’, but more often indirectly through a compassionate examination of individual lives, and individual deaths. Moran’s work is a refreshing change after the syntactical pyrotechnics which contemporary poetry sometimes offers. It is a relief to find work that seeks profundity in the everyday, without inversions, or obscurity."

- Frances Spurrier
Write Out Loud

"We all know a writer is someone who says what other people think and don’t say. A poet is one who does it with image, sound and feeling. And so what did you think today that you didn’t say? Could you have turned a poem about the girl at the coffee counter who didn’t get your order right? Friends who fear the doctor’s report? A two week cruise on a ship? A stay at the hospital? All of us experience these moments, but American poet Daniel Thomas Moran bothered to put his hand to them to make them permanent. Fierce argument is not his motive for writing poetry, but more a wish to repair and preserve time—with all the risks and opportunities that implies. For a writer the options are many, and the lessons never end, so the poet takes the ordinary and sees it like a child and describes it like a metaphysician. The benefits depend on high velocity from within—the desire to get it right. Moran looks at the moment straight-on and makes it worthy of our attention. We are taught that unity, symmetry an beauty are judgments for art; I would add clarity, intensity and sincerity."

- Grace Cavalieri
The Washington Independent Review of Books

"Mr. Moran has made a long and distinguished career of cultivating two worlds into one. A Shed for Wood combines the intimate moments of private life, with the critical awareness of artistic persona. The work has compassionate precision, coming from someone who knows enough, not to say too much. The beauty of the present aesthetic, besides being humorous, is that Mr. Moran genuinely regards his subject matter with palpable gratitude. A Shed for Wood is full of praise, tongue in cheek, and often, laugh out loud. There is an inherent humanism to the work, full of faith, for us to survive difficult occasions. The poet attends to the minutia of composition with tangible joy, that even acts of eulogy carry benevolent truth."

- Lucas Hunt
The East Hampton Star

"Whether pondering the significance of a gold watch, ancestral walking sticks, or the glitter of fire flies, Moran reminds us of the true power of poetry to bring profound meaning to the everyday."

- Mindy Kronenberg
Book Mark

"Poetry can be intimidating, and, sure enough, by the time I got through the first sentence of the foreword of "A Shed for Wood," I was intimidated. Already there was a word — empyrean — that I had to look up. I prepared myself for another inaccessible (to me) poetry collection."

"What I found was just the opposite. Daniel Thomas Moran's poetry is about the stuff of daily life — thermometers, olive pits, flea markets, fireflies and walking sticks to name just some — and so, entirely relatable."

"But the everydayness is only the starting point, an entryway into a world that it takes a poet to see."

"Evidence the spare and lovely verse in "The Book of Prophecy," a poem about datebooks (yes, those things we organize our lives with): "There is a blue ribbon/I could use to separate/the what has been, from/the what's yet to be."

"But, as the foreword writer said, Moran’s "poetic arms reach effortlessly from the quotidian to the empyrean" (meaning, I found, the highest reaches of heaven), and so they do. He elegantly (and somehow reassuringly) writes of the deep themes of love, loss, aging, death and belief (or not) in God.
Moran is like a miner who takes a patch of ordinary ground and unearths dozens of diamonds. Read the book, and enjoy the brilliance."

- Barbara Coles
NH Magazine

"Moran’s is an inclusive poetry, a brand which is perhaps a result of his twin professions. He is both a poet and a dentist and quite unconcerned with occupying some position in publishing or an English faculty or creative writing programme. It is an egalitarian poetry which will attract readers who do not usually read poetry and this is a great achievement as any high modernist grail."

- Matt Haw
Excerpt from Poetry Salzburg Rewiew

"For me, Moran’s verse combines elements of my favorite triumvirate of American poets--Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman and Robert Frost. It is earthy, unpretentious, accessible, agnostic, sometimes comic, often serious, frequently both, rooted in the ordinary--mayflies, horseshoe crabs, sparrows, tumbled stones and treetops--yet capable of delivering a jolt of understanding. as "A Shed for Wood" makes clear, he continues to practice poetry at the highest level, turning out poems that serve as a source of wonder, enjoyment, enlightenment, and laughter."

"You lovers of words, do yourself a favor: Neglect him no longer."

- Peter Quinn

"I have read many of Moran’s books, such as Looking for the Uncertain Past, From HiLo to Willow Pond, and Sheltered by Islands, and I think this latest book is some of his best work. A poet in the line of Stevens, Ashbery, Collins, and Sirowitz, Moran writes with intelligence and compassion and not a little melancholy--all set off by humor that is delivered with a gentle smile, not a smirk. This is a beautiful book covering some of Moran's wide world of favorite subjects--nature, absence, travel, celebrities (here Amy Winehouse, Killer Kowalski, Patti Smith, John Updike), and religion. Of the latter, reading poems such as "Intelligent Design," "Scriptures," and "The Last Supper of Judas Iscariot," it’s hard not to see the former Catholic boy wrestling with his upbringing and beating it soundly. Moran’s line are terse, simple, often prosey (though there are some full-on rhymers here). His view is always sharp, precise as a sickle probe. Some of my personal favorites include "Christmas Eve at the Waldorf-Astoria," "Missing People," "It’s Like OMG," "The Man from an Unknown Place," "To the Bug Who Perished in My Drink." A great read."

- Richie Narvaez
Richie Narvaez Review

"Moran has dealt with so many things in this volume in a manner which is enviously cool and deliciously wise. That’s the work of wisdom coming with age. Anyway, the Warner River has got a new fan here in Bangladesh. Moran is less literary in the sense that he rarely uses meter, regular stanzas and a variety of compact forms but still very much alive with a deceptive simplicity and the clarity of intentions in his phrases from the very first poem to the last. I’m reading it over and over again."

- Sofiul Azam

"Moran’s is a distinctive American voice which deserves an attentive hearing."

- Elizabeth Heywood
Acumen Magazine

"Moran’s poems seem so natural, uncontrived, like an afterthought that suddenly prevails."

- Samuel Menashe


"The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length the middle-aged man concludes to build a wood-shed with them."

-Henry David Thoreau


© 2013 Daniel Thomas Moran - All Rights Reserved

Website created by Websites by Kathy, Concord, NH