December 29th, 2012
Joe Donahue (Joseph Donahue of Duke University in North Carolina and the literary constellation Lowelliana) has a poem in the Dec. 24 issue of The Nation magazine, one of the few remaining nationally distributed publications that regularly make room for poets–and thus a fantastic location for widespread viewing of literary compositions. I’m a subscriber, so I’m taking the liberty of sharing the poem with our readers—otherwise you would not be able to access it online. — PM.
asked the skull: what
do you want?
said: to be
from bed, to shower,
to street, to work,
hair still wet.
The river wind
must feel even fresher
a cold crown
as they marvel
at the day’s news
found on meteorites…
I want to be,
the skull said,
back in New York.
February 10th, 2012
Poet and writer John Olson reviewed Joseph Donahue’s new collection of poetry, “Dissolves: Terra Lucida, IV-VIII,” on his blog called Tillalala Chronicles. Read the thoughtful, in-depth review here.
I have Joe’s book on the side table in the living room and am reading it in small sections. When I have a sense of the whole book, I’ll let our readers know. This is writing that is not to be rushed through.
December 27th, 2011
Under the title “Dissolves,” the new sections of Joe Donahue’s long poem “Terra Lucida,” are due in January from the publisher Talisman House in New Jersey. Joe is on long-term leave from Lowell, based at Duke University, where he researches eternal questions. The reading public rarely catches up to a visionary poet in the author’s moment, so it’s safe to say that Joe is one for the ages—which is a good thing. When a critic uses the phrase “unmatched by any other living American poet” related to an aspect of a writer’s work, that’s a signal to take note. Here is the ordering information.
Here’s advance praise for the new volume:
“If one thing characterizes the active imagination Donahue brings to bear on his poem, it’s his desire that the visionary reality he has entered not be merely some dream, but a place of absolute reality. His skill at conveying this feeling seems unmatched by any other living American poet, such that parts of his poem exhibit a simultaneous lightness of touch and gravitational pull, where surrealistic follies vie with imaginal intensities.” —Peter O’Leary
“This is an episode of high romance and mystical compassion within Joseph Donahue’s on-going long poem — with the intertwining of love of the luminous earth, the erotic transformations of muse-love, and the maternal gift — the love of vocation and of the prophetic name of the poet all unrolling in an elaborated strand of meditation. The work has medieval motifs (like those of Duncan or of H.D.) reanimated in our time: forbidden lovers, lyric folds inside songs of three cultures (Christian, Jewish, Muslim), the garden, the shock of desire, the shock of science that extends mystery, the shock of death and transfiguration, all compelling in their endless aftermath. This is a book of continuous yearning, a book of cosmic creation, a book of spiritual meditation all saturated by Donahue’s angelic ear and eye.” —Rachel Blau DuPlessis
“Picasso said that whenever he painted there might not be an object, but there was the fragrance of an object. In Dissolves, Joseph Donahue combines something like an object with something like a fragrance. His cubism, unglazed and personal, produces magical other dimensions.” —David Shapiro
January 29th, 2011
Lowell-rooted poet Joe Donahue is one of the subjects of an essay titled “Apocalypticism: A Way Forward for Poetry” in the Chicago Review. Read the essay by Peter O’Leary here.
Donahue has spent years mastering long serial poems that combine elements of mysticism, esotericism, protest, and the alienation of the urban experience.
. . .
What does it mean to say a poem is apocalyptic? Typically, it means that a poem, or its poet, suggests catastrophe or the quality of conclusion signified in Revelation, the final book of the New Testament.
December 28th, 2010
Lowell-linked poet Joseph Donahue and his poems are examined in a dense and cerebral essay-review by Jeanne Heuving in the Seattle-based literary magazine “Golden Handcuffs Review” (Winter-Spring 2008). Read Heuving’s take on Donahue here.
Joe has new fiction in the current issue of the magazine (Summer-Fall 2010), but unfortunately his selection is not online.