the moon won’t be dared and a recipe in the ashes

the moon won’t be dared is my latest book review on the TLC Book Tour.   I don’t seek out poetry books often (unless I know the poet) and the last volume I read was again for TLC,  Why I Never Finished My Dissertation (a most excellent book).  Let’s jump into this latest work.

About the book:

the moon won’t be dared is a poetry collection by award-winning author Anne Leigh Parrish that features artwork by Lydia Selk. In this momentous debut collection, the poet harnesses language to give readers a new vision of nature, the impossible plight of womanhood, love, aging, and beauty.
Being a woman in a male-dominated society affords Anne Leigh Parrish the space to witness the world on an uneven keel. Parrish pays tribute to beauty, but also weaves the harsh truths of betrayal and brutality into the filaments holding the collection together.


“Anne Leigh Parrish’s poems in the moon won’t be dared are an extended mediation that weaves through time and humanity, injusices and struggles, but with an eye towards love and beauty.  These captiviating poems carry an underlining ache of loss—past and future—but they are grounded int he present, in beetle and spider, in river and forest, in the windows that look into the yards.  Parrish writes ‘we can only burn slowly over time,’ and we see this book is full of light—fire, streetlight, smokelight, garden light, twilight, starlight, and in fact, ‘darkness/becomes light when the world beards us/along.’ This is a voice willing to convey what isn’t working in the world, but also to always acknolwdge what is—‘a childe of the night/who lived on moonlight and cold sparkle of stars.’ Parrish’s poems feed us, and they will hold us ‘long enough/to tinge the dawn with hope.'”
—Kelli Russell Agodon, author of Dialogues with Rising Tides  (Copper Canyon Press)

About the author:

Anne Leigh Parrish lives in a forest in the south sound region of Washington state.  Her poetry is isnpired by both the world of nature and the world of politics.  She believes women have been told to be quiet for too long.  While she writes often of home and hearth, her interests range widely.

Parrish is the author of five previously published books of fiction: Women Within, a novel (Black Rose Writing, 2017); By The Wayside, stories (Unsolicited Press, 2017); What Is Found, What Is Lost, a novel (She Writes Press, 2014); Our Love Could Light The World, stories (She Writes Press, 2013); and All The Roads That Lead From Home, stories, (Press 53, 2011). She is the author of over forty-five published short stories, and numerous essays on the art and craft of writing. Learn more by visiting her website at

Connect with Anne

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

What I thought…

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 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 is paired perfectly with the poems.

the moon won’t be dared is my favorite Parrish book to date.

The food…

I always try to pair food with my book reviews and while there is a bit of food mentioned in the volume, when it is, it often represents the plight of women as well:  “she cured cancer, she cured ham” (72).   There’s a “forty year old recipe for pineapple upside down cake” (84), “lamb and beef, or something full of blood/your mother prepares with rosemary, thyme, garlic and olive oil” (88), and a martini that an aunt pours “to kill the pain of being in her own skin” (88).  A cherry pie appears but the speaker feels it’s important that Mother is picking in “a white dress decorated/with red something—not cherries—/she’s not a matchy-match girl”(92).

Again, since most of the food was presented as frightening (“full of blood”) or as a part of the stereotypical world of woman’s work, I found it hard to find inspiration for a recipe.

I kept going back the theme of fire.

I decided to revisit a recipe that is literally cooked in the ashes.

T-Bone in Ashes

Based on Caveman T-Bones

Don’t be scared to cook this way. You can channel your cavewoman side.


  • 1 T-bone steak (12 to 16 ounces and 1-1/2 inch thick)
  • Sea salt and coarsely freshly ground black pepper
  • hardwood charcoal


  1. Build a charcoal fire and rake the coals into an even layer. You must use hardwood charcoal for this. Do not use lump charcoal. When the coals are red, you’re ready to cook.
  2. With LOTS of salt and pepper, season the steak on both sides. Place the steak directly on the embers. Cook to taste, 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare, turning with tongs.
  3. Using tongs, lift the steak out of the fire, shaking it to dislodge any embers. Using a basting brush, brush off any loose ash and arrange the steak on a platter or plates. Let the steak rest loosely tented with aluminum foil for about five minutes.

Yield: 2-4 (depending on size of steak)


Ironically, my original post was done this same month in 2014.


Please check out the other reviews of the moon won’t be dared.  If you are a poetry fan, I would recommend this book.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Parrish for the opportunity to read this volume.


Tour schedule:

Monday, November 8th: @bookdragon217

Tuesday, November 9th: @fashionablyfifty

Wednesday, November 10th: @the.ace.of.books on TikTok

Wednesday, November 10th: @nikkihrose

Thursday, November 11th: @monikasbookblog

Thursday, November 11th: @jlegplans

Friday, November 12th: @lilagracereads on TikTok

Friday, November 12th: @nat.reads_

Monday, November 15th: 5 Minutes for Books

Monday, November 15th: @webreakforbooks

Tuesday, November 16th: Book Dilettante

Wednesday, November 17th: @mistymountainreads

Wednesday, November 17th: Kahakai Kitchen

Thursday, November 18th: @readalotwritealot

Friday, November 19th: @angelsmomreads

Saturday, November 20th: Girl Who Reads

Sunday, November 21st: @hoardingbooks.herdingcats

Monday, November 22nd: @readingwithmrsleaf

Monday, November 22nd: Eliot’s Eats

4 comments to the moon won’t be dared and a recipe in the ashes

  • Interesting review but I’m not much of a poetry reader. I’m like you in the sense that I, when I do read poetry, I read it as autobiographical. thanks for the review. A few decades ago my husband cooked a couple of steaks on embers. It was excellent and your make me want to have him do it again.
    Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  • i was never much of a poetry fan but then a friend became a poet and the rest is history …

  • Mae

    That must create a really delicious exterior of the steaks. Sometimes I cheat and elevate my steak to touch the electric stove element and put a nice little grill mark on a thick steak, but your way seems better.

    best… mae at

  • So odd, I enjoy poetry but I rarely read it. This sounds interesting. And although I enjoy steak, it’s also something I rarely indulge in. So your menu choice is so fitting for me. Sounds terrific — thanks.