Joseph Donahue’s verse is rarely melodramatic, but rather humane and temperate, even when the insights are startling.
In Joseph Donahue’s Wind Maps I-VII we are led out of sleep by the poet, just as he has been led out of sleep by a dream guide, into a renewal of mythic or storied truth.
Among contemporary American poets, Joseph Donahue is an underrecognized master. For years, he has been accumulating a prodigious body of work in which a searching vision and a refinement of craftsmanship combine.
An annotated list of some of Albert Mobilio’s and John Yau’s favorite poetry books published this year.
Not only fragments and filaments, but also liturgies and litanies embed themselves in Joseph Donahue’s Terra Lucida, a chain of poetic assemblage that both embodies and breaks free of given notions of the long poem. While the formal designs of that thematic behemoth can be ascribed to his project, Donahue’s abrupt transitions, radical breaks, and vertiginous frames disrupt the cohesion and narrative continuity on which the genre depends. Rarely in contemporary poetry has the couplet served so astonishingly as a centrifugal mechanism, as bonding agent to the lines, serving to contain and unite its pressurized contents — “all those/tatters of the creation” mediated “in this aberrant rendition” — which seem at any moment threaten to break apart.