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Author Biography


Sometimes Only the Sad Songs Will Do

short stories by David Denny

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In this new collection of short fiction, David Denny gives voice to troubled characters caught in spiritual snares: a mass shooter dreams of angels and astronauts while awaiting capture, a young hotel clerk attempts to teach the rock star trashing his hotel suite a lesson in humility, an elderly couple surrender their lives to an approaching wildfire. As Paris Review editor Christian Kiefer says, "Denny's stories read like a catalog of earthly woes through which run a surprising thread of wonderment and grace." Reminiscent of the American blues tradition, these dozen lyrical laments remind us that even in an age of moral panic, climate disaster, pandemic, and political corruption, the world’s fading beauty still has the power to astound us and drop us to our knees in broken praise.

FICTION / Short Stories (single author)

ISBN: 978-1-951651-38-1 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
ISBN: 978-1-951651-39-8 (digital)

LCCN: 2020942899

Released 11-17-2020

124 pages

Author Biography

David Denny is the author of the poetry collection Some Divine Commotion and a previous short story collection, The Gill Man in Purgatory, both from Shanti Arts. Earlier books include the poetry collections Man Overboard and Fool in the Attic. His poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including The Sun, Narrative, Catamaran, Rattle, and Parabola. He holds an M.F.A. degree from the University of Oregon and an M.A.T. from Fuller Theological Seminary. Awards and honors include The Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Contest, The Steve Kowit Poetry Prize, The Center for Book Arts Broadside Award, an Artist Laureate Award from the Silicon Valley Arts Council, numerous Pushcart Prize nominations, and inaugural Poet Laureate of Cupertino, California. He lives in Silicon Valley where, in addition to writing, he enjoys the dual identity of Professor at De Anza College and Chaplain at Sunny View Retirement Community. What spare time he has is spent painting, hiking, and traveling with his wife, Jill, a prominent choral conductor.


“Where do these stories come from? David Denny is capable of anything and everything in his fiction, and each one of these stories is testimony to the scope and inventiveness and enormous heart of its creator’s mind.”
Elizabeth McKenzie, author of The Portable Veblen, senior editor of the Chicago Quarterly Review, and managing editor of Catamaran

“David Denny’s stories are uncommon melodies, each gracefully delivered in a distinctive voice. Don’t be at all surprised if a few of these selections linger in your mind for a good long while afterwards.”
Bob Thurber, writer of short fiction, author of Paperboy, A Dysfunctional Novel

“A master of dialogue, David Denny’s short stories of common people captivate with humor and detail the uncommon in ordinary lives.”
Carol Smallwood, Marquis Lifetime Achievement recipient, author of Thread, Form, and Other Enclosures, her thirteenth poetry collection


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