The Machinery of Life

Exciting news from Bean World, via Hedgehog Land….

The Machinery of Life is at the printers and with a fair wind it should be ready in time for pre-sales and official release on 5th July…

I am super excited about this – 23 poems of love. Here is what has been said about it already:

Darren J Beaney is proof that there’s always something new to say about love, in the right hands. In these refreshingly original poems, various and many aspects of love are touched upon, and whatever the subject – whether it’s glamorous mythology or gluttonous middle-age spread – Beaney succeeds in not just finding the beauty within but in managing to clearly express an undeniable truth: that while love remains the most brittle thing, it’s when our bodies start to break down that love, very often, proves itself to be stronger than ever before.  
Thomas McColl

In ‘The Machinery of Life’ Darren J Beaney returns to the territory of his pamphlet, ‘Honey dew’: drawing on myth, literature, and his own experience he explores the subject that has occupied poets through time: the nature of love. This is, however, is love as lived in the twenty-first century captured in poetry that is inventive, witty, and frequently surprising but never slushy or sentimental. This is true love as experienced by a man with middle age spread who cannot believe his luck and whose poems gives hope for us all.

Nigel Kent

Darren J Beaney writes vibrant love poems that are beautifully sincere. They tackle an old theme with a modern, questing eye, capturing the shifting weather of the heart through exciting imagery, playful verbs and luminous small details.

John McCullough

I  love that these words are about The Self – But not self-indulgent. There’s no ego here, just words – Take ‘em or leave ‘em.

There’s so much hate in this world any bit of loving’s gotta be alright.

Steve Ignorant

Stayed tuned folks…

MoL – cover…

Flight of the Dragonfly

We are back for another adventure in Zoom land!

29 June will see the usual 14 readers plus a super guest poet – Christina Thatcher and the launch of my new pamphlet The Machinery of Life.

More details here, free tickets to attend below. To grab a reader slot email – be warned slots go quick and we run a waitlist.

The Machinery of Life

Very excited to let everyone know that my second poetry pamphlet will be published by the wonderful Hedgehog Poetry Press on 5 July 2021.

The Machinery of Life tries to answer the age-old question – what is love? 

A question that has fascinated scientists, philosophers, historians, playwrights, novelists, songwriters and poets for centuries. Well, this pamphlet of 23 poems of love may or may not answer the question, but it does offer some ‘romantic’ food for thought. The poems show love in many forms – as chaos and addiction, serious and fun. The poems try to convey the message that love can be the real thing, can be be peaceful, comforting and at times exhilarating. 

On more than one occasion there are a few fleeting appearances from Eros and some of the other stars of Greek mythology. There is some philosophy, a smattering of humour, some self-deprecation (I had to be careful how I wrote that) and a bit of under the sheets risqué. Along the way it becomes clear that love is a splendid thing! 

The Machinery of Life shows that love takes many forms and can be expressed in a variety of ways, it does not all have to be a cliché, wine and roses, gushing sonnets and stary eyes. It shows that love can be elegant and it can be punk rock. It illustrates that no one should be afraid to show their love, even if the way they choose to do so is not considered the romantic way. 

The Machinery of Life may not give any one the answer to the question – what is love? But it may start to answer the question – what’s love got to do with it?


love has everything to do with it, it is after all The Machinery of Life.

I will post details on how to get a copy soon, as well as details of a launch event!

Flight of the Dragonfly

Exciting times in Dragonflies world! And here is why –

We have been shortlisted for a Saboteur Award for Best Regular Spoken Word!

We are overwhelmed that folk nominated us. If you feel so inclined you can vote for us here

You should also check out the very fine Sabotage Reviews who host the awards as part the Saboteur Awards Festival

We are also going for a Zoom double up in May!

Out first virtual outing will be 4 May when we host Dragonflies present…

Three lovely poets – David Bleiman, Margaret Royall and Peter A

will share their wonderful poetry as each launch their new pamphlets. They will

all have three poetry support acts, so 12 poets all for the price of a free Eventbrite link.

A week later – 11 May we return for Flight of the Dragonfly spoken word (that’s the Saboteur Award shortlisted Flight of the Dragonfly)

We have 14 readers all sharing 5 minutes worth of their words and two super guest poets

Vic Pickup and Cathy Carson.

And finally, we spread our wings a little bit more by launching our very own e-journal – Flights

We aim to publish every quarter and also hope to produce as a downloadable PDF in the future. Submissions of poetry, flash fiction and prose are welcome. We have had a great response so far and there is still time to submit for our first issue.

We hope to have issue one winging its way to you in the first week of June.

Cheers – Spread the words

Valentine’s Day – Honey Dew

So – not long until Valentine’s Day. Why not get in the mood by buying Honey Dew

21 poems of love all bound together in a lovely little pamphlet published by the very lovely

Hedgehog Poetry Press.

Go on, treat yourself or someone you love.

You can read a review the wonderful poet Nigel Kent here

And – you can buy the e-book or print edition here

Honey Dew

New poems

I have two poems about to be published by City Limits Publishing (USA).

One will appear in an anthology called “A New Love Blooms”

the other will be in an anthology called “Tis Better to Have loved and Lost”.

Both anthologies will be released on 4th February 2021 and can be bought using the links below

Woodworm – by Matt Duggan

So here is my very first book review – ever.

WOODWORM – Matt Duggan (The Hedgehog Poetry Press)

Matt Duggan is blessed with a voice that was made to recite poetry. A wonderful West Country lilt that holds your attention and satisfies. He is also blessed with the ability to write superb poetry, stringing together words in such a way to leave you wanting more. Woodworm is a magnificent example of Matt’s poetic talent. A collection of poems that feel very modern, at times reflecting the 21stCentury angst that many of use experience in our lives; yet his style of writing also retains a degree of the traditional. As such Woodworm should appeal to all lovers of poetry.

For me this collection resonates the most because Matt is not afraid to take a swipe at conventional society and the state it finds itself in, often jabbing his finger at the ways of the capitalist world, ready to point out its many failings. And that assault on the norm starts with The Citadelthe poem that kicks starts the book. Matt reminds us of the view held by some that homelessness and being on the fringes of society are not acceptable to those who believe their way is the right way, as he describes ‘dystopian fly-traps laid out to deter the homeless’, a sight that is becoming far to common, even in my quiet neck of the woods, something that Matt emphasises with the line – ‘I look onto a world as a stranger in a very familiar and unequal land…’  It is this understated way of pointing out the obvious (things that at times have become invisible) that is one of Matt’s strengths.

There is not much of our modern world, way of life and types of thinking that doesn’t get a tough examination from Matt. He shows his dismay at the increased use of drone warfare in Questioning the space between dronespours disdain on the world of Social Media with the increased worship of ‘algorithms and selfie sticks’, although I very much doubt that the subjects in his poem would know an algorithm if it worked out a way to slap them in the face. The transformation of Sebastian Gilmour would be much funnier if it wasn’t so scarily true, I am sure that he is not the only one to have met such a person, all too willing to abandon their principles once they have been seduced by the basic principles of capitalism. 

In The plight of the working-class, Matt draws upon the history of late 20th Century Britain, illustrating the effect of Thatcher’s dog eat dog philosophy and the promise of opportunity in a Tory world. He dwells upon the mass defection from the Labour movement by the working classes, lied to by the popular tabloid press, simply put as – ‘When a worker puts down his newspaper doesn’t believe what he reads anymore’ and the destruction of workers’ rights and the undermining of the Trades Union movement – ‘… by trying to down all of his work tools. A worker is then labelled a shirker, commie…’

But Woodworm is not all an attack on capitalist politics, Matt also shows his warmer, affectionate side – When foxes come out to play and Butterfly are both as good as they are simple, both are beautiful descriptions of the natural world at its best. For me though, Tenderness is perhaps one of my favourite poems in the collection, the opening lines are majestic – 

Drop a heart into a glass

watch the glass start to expand

place a lid or plate over its circular top’

The whole poem booms with warmth and beautifully lives up to its title – I wish this were a poem that I had written!

Woodworm is a collection that I heartedly recommend, written by an important poetic voice. It reminds us of the world we live in – the good and the bad – and will remind you to both get angry with things but retain your love of things that are just.

Buy it, read it, read it again and again and if you ever get the chance to hear Matt read his poems take the opportunity and listen attentively.

You can buy the print edition of Woodworm here and the e-book here

Woodworm – Matt Duggan (buy it)