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The Moon Won't Be Dared

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The poems in the moon won't be dared by award-winning author anne leigh parrish ponder nature, love, ageing, and the impossible plight of women in a male-dominated society. Love and reverence for beauty blend with harsher truths of betrayal and brutality. Throughout, there is an overriding sense that life is full of magic, and that to wonder is a lovely gift.


Published May 1, 2021

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About the author

Anne Leigh Parrish

18 books287 followers
Award-winning writer Anne Leigh Parrish's second poetry collection, IF THE SKY WON'T HAVE ME, will arrive in April from Unsolicited Press. Her latest novel, AN OPEN DOOR, was published in October 2022, also from Unsolicited Press. Recent titles are A WINTER NIGHT, a novel, March 2021 and THE MOON WON'T BE DARED, a poetry collection, October 2021. She is the author of eight other books, most notably MAGGIE'S RUSE, and THE AMENDMENT, both novels. She has recently ventured into the art of photography and displays her work at www.laviniastudios.com. She lives among the evergreen trees in the South Sound region of Washington State. Find her online at her website, Twitter, Facebook, Medium, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.

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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews
Profile Image for Cheryl Malandrinos.
Author 4 books65 followers
October 21, 2021
A moving collection blending natural elements, human emotions, and powerful artwork is what the reader will find in The Moon Be Dared by Anne Leigh Parrish.

Poets amaze me with the way they string together words and connect to the world around them. It's a different art form than writing a story; one I never learned and cannot quite grasp except to admire those who make it seem easy.

Such is the case with Parrish's collection, The Moon Be Dared. Poems of earth's love and holding on, poems of broken faith and destroyed trust, poems of nightmares and dreams, fill its pages. So much emotion and exploration to inspire and engage, a story in free verse that takes a journey through the human experience and speaks of the challenges, yet still provides us hope.

The Moon Be Dared is a beautiful collection that is complemented by the collages by Lydia Selk. Featured in black and white, they speak to you and you can almost imagine the colors were they there.

This is my favorite poetry collection of the year. I look forward to reading more of Parrish's work.
Profile Image for Melissa.
503 reviews59 followers
November 17, 2021
I loved the simplicity. All the things not said in the line breaks were heard loudly. I love that this collection was nature-focused with lots of references to light. But my favorites by far were the female-focused poems that had me nodding and re-reading again and again. My top four were what we talk about when we watch the handmaid’s tale, tough luck, reversal and a survey of the female experience. This is a good collection for those who love poetry as well as those new to poetry.
Profile Image for Sue .
1,612 reviews98 followers
November 6, 2021
I'll admit that I haven't read much poetry in the last several years. After I read The Moon Won't be Dared, I wondered why I haven't been reading more poetry . Many fiction authors seem to believe that more is best in their writing and descriptions. This book of poetry is sparse on words. - words that have been carefully chosen to celebrate the mood of the poem.
Profile Image for Monika.
686 reviews43 followers
November 11, 2021
I don’t think I’ve ever read a poetry before! I have read lit fiction with verses, but I don’t think they count. The Moon won’t be dared is an anthology poetry collection on different elements from nature to ambiguous characters. I thought poetry would be dense for me to follow, but this collection is easy to read and understand.

Thank you TLC for the gifted book!
Profile Image for Story Circle Book Reviews.
636 reviews61 followers
August 27, 2021
Ann Leigh Parrish's first anthology, entitled the moon won't be dared, is a beautiful collection of ponderings, noticings, and recollections from our ever changing modern world. The poet dispenses with conventions such as capital letters, allowing her words to flow like a river over pebbles of insight. In one poem, a voice wonders,

how came the river to curve like this
back, forth, back again...
the slow side-to-side of a woman's hips...
the memory of an earlier dance
before the planet warmed, or cooled...

She is not an environmental poet exploring connections between people's behavior and outcomes on the earth, but rather a keen observer questioning and struggling to make sense of things while examining both humanity and nature deeply.

Whether it's images of assault such as fires and floods on nature or women, Ms. Parrish's poems neither lecture nor sugar coat—they reveal truths, sensibilities, for the reader to consider. In her poem "that night" the speaker reveals that "you wanted me awake, yet helpless/still wondering how you doctored my drink..."

In this poem, a woman finds herself bound, gagged, and left in the dirt, later wondering

...how you could have left me on that soft patch
of grass for the roaming dog to find
why you needed to steal what i'd have given freely

A similar violence shows up in "the legend girl," which ends, "why did they make her dirt/when she sparkled like a jewel?"

A reader will find sufficient places where the harsher, Plath-like darkness is set aside and a bold strength and wisdom emerge. In "sing out our name" Parrish writes, "...the stars honor us--/what we have always been and always will be/they sing out our name."

In "love's needle" and "beetle," the spirit of love, beauty in nature, and positivity appear again. Then "the river" returns to the page, this time with the message,

ride, then name the river that runs
through your life
carry no grief for the passing years
time does its job, as do you....
and when it slows a bit and lets you
drift, calm in its quiet lilt,
rejoice in this moment
this flash
this now

Here, a reader may pause and inhale all that is right with the world. Parrish's words deftly take us there in the manner of the skillful poet that she reveals herself to be.

My personal favorite, a poem entitled "holding on," uses a rain drop about to fall from a cloud as a metaphor for climactic moments. She writes:

be careful, though, of this enticing metaphor
not everything is about build up and release
maybe more is about day-to-day travails
holding on, standing by, showing up
and refusing to let go.

Indeed, many readers will second this interesting bit of wisdom.

Ann Leigh Parrish's anthology uncovers voices that demonstrate resiliency, something that is refreshing to find in modern free verse poetry. Lydia Selk's incredible analog collages, sprinkled throughout, add a touch of whimsical magic to Parrish's poems. I recommend this book to women, especially those who enjoy free verse poetry or the outdoors, or who may have suffered trauma, and those who need a little inspiration to carry on. There is much within Parrish's voice that will inspire!

Story Circle Book Reviews thanks Shawn LaTorre for this review.
Profile Image for Debra.
469 reviews16 followers
November 7, 2021
This is the third book I’ve read by Parrish. Maggie’s Ruse was my first introduction to her writing. This short novel was about two twins and obviously a “ruse.” The second work I read was >i>A Winter Night which was a sort of sequel to Maggie’s Ruse in the sense that the same family was at the center of the tale. Instead of the twins, the story revolved around their older sister.

Obviously, it is a bit difficult to compare poetry to works of fiction so I won’t even try.

As mentioned in the book’s blurb, Parrish uses a lot of natural disasters to reflect personal turmoil. Fires and storms abound. The motif of fire is the most prevalent: “another blaze” (17), “fire eats the forest” (36), a body doused in gasoline (56)…. These violent images mirror relationship angst and trauma but Parrish then moves toward societal angst and trauma, “what we talk about when we watch the handmaid’s tale” (71) and “tough luck” (80).

I will say I got a bit bored with the same images and same message. I did enjoy some of the poems that did seem to have a more personal slant like “piercing” (87).

It is hard for me to not read poetry as autobiographical and that is a struggle I acknowledge. I certainly hope that Parrish did not totally draw on her own life experiences. I did enjoy her honesty and wit:

[there’s a difference between doing something
because everyone says you should,
and will shit on you if you don’t,
and doing it because you know that without you,
it won’t get done] (57)

Parrish’s view point is obvious and the echoes of the “Me, too” movement are prevalent. Commentaries of “creating fires that need stamped out” (21) involve harassments, sexual assault, and simply being heard.

The artwork of Lydia Selk is lovely and thought-provoking and are paired perfectly with the poems.

the moon won’t be dared is my favorite Parrish book to date.
Profile Image for Terry Tierney.
Author 3 books4 followers
July 21, 2021
In her poetry collection, The Moon Won’t Be Dared, Anne Leigh Parrish captures beautiful and painfully human moments into lyrical portraits that are both memorable and accessible. From the first poem “Among the Trees,” which depicts haunting “spirits of an ancient race” leery of change, through poems describing such disturbing and pithy topics as spousal abuse and family deaths, Parrish writes in a soft voice tinged with epiphany and allegory. In “The Legend Girl,” for example, she illuminates her protagonist with stimulating imagery: “she ate wings until her mouth took flight.” The poems span romance, hunger, and loss, through an artistic eye and a woman’s point of view. “A Survey of the Female Experience” gives us a resounding Biblical correction: “the rib never fit / and the apple had worms / fig leaves are for fools shaming the / triangle of life.” Provocative collages by Lydia Selk, superimposing feminine and natural elements, add further enjoyment to the reading experience. The author of nine novels and short story collections, Parrish has written a debut poetry volume we can all cherish.
Profile Image for Loic Ekinga.
Author 2 books8 followers
January 15, 2022
“… how can we not envy flames
for how
swiftly they destroy?

While we can only burn slowly over time
and distance, longing for the embrace
that will consume us, and return us to earth”

In The Moon Won’t Be Dared, Anne Parrish blends nature with the human experience in a beautiful and silky way. In her poems, we learn how nature can be a mirror; we learn of how questions of love, grief, longing and even balance can be answered by observing a burning garden or a rock splitting a stream. Parrish proposes that we are ferrets in a pet store cage, birds with broken wings, humans who need to understand that what consumes nature, consumes us all equally. That sometimes nature breaks like we break, that it sometimes grieves like we do, even if we get to experience all that beauty and harmony within our finite humanity. She tells us that by looking at nature’s grandeur, and pointing out its similarities to us, we become aware of our mortality, that all these emotions and experiences will be left behind as part of the cycle of life as we slowly bend towards our graves.

Brilliant! Brilliant! A must read! I cannot recommend it enough!
Profile Image for Anthony.
Author 30 books109 followers
November 4, 2021
The Review

Such an incredibly beautiful and emotionally-driven collection of poetry! The author has expertly crafted a collection that touches the soul and navigates the human experience with vivid imagery and succinct writing. What struck me immediately was the author’s use of no capitalization in her writing, allowing the words to flow smoothly and with tremendous insight into the struggles of everyday life and the world as a whole.

The balance the author found between narrative-style poetry and more personal and relatable storytelling with a healthy dose of heartfelt themes that inspire us all to stop and really examine the world around us. From the fires raging on the US West Coast and the rise of global warming to abuse and the loss of a loved one, the author conveys each topic and poem with such conviction and depth, and when accompanied by the engaging artwork makes for a memorable reading experience.

The Verdict

A remarkable, emotional, and thoughtful collection of poetry, author Anne Leigh Parrish’s “The Moon Won’t Be Dared” is a must-read poetry collection of 2021! With a mesmerizing blend of awe-inspiring imagery and thought-provoking words that stirred up the emotions within us all, readers will be hard-pressed to keep away from this fantastic collection.
Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews

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