Long admired for his books of poetry, most recently China Blues and Dancing in the Dark, David Donnell’s poems continue to surprise and amaze us with their cool jazz of spontaneity and imaginative logic. A sensual and intellectual feast, Sometimes a Great Notion is a deconstruction of the contemporary artist’s life; it’s also a tough, compassionate look at the future of the future and our philosophy of love. Culinary adventures and geography juxtapose with Japanese culture, erotic interludes are interrupted by notes on Alex Colville, giving us the clearest picture of convergence theory we’ve had since Marshall McLuhan was a young man. Here, in poems like “Luce” or “Pillows,” Donnell pushes the boundaries of minimalism in original and subtle ways and succeeds like peach ice cream on a hot day. Moment after moment, this is a provocative and refreshing book.
David Donnell’s books of poetry include Settlements, winner of the Governor General’s Award, China Blues, winner of the City of Toronto Book Award, Dancing in the Dark, and, most recently, Sometimes a Great Notion. His poetry has been widely anthologized in Canada and the U.S. He teaches and lives in Toronto.
“David Donnell’s poetry is painful and sacred – because he seizes beauty and changes it; because he apprehends what is familiar and terrible in the blood, in the bone, in the anatomy of miracles. He is our collective soul.” –Lynn Crosbie