Angels are aliens in spaceships. Angels descend
and eagles soar. I am not an eagle. If I were an angel I would descend
and give you of the bread of happiness
the salt of anger
& the message you already know better than I know:
the moon & the lakes & the hills
— from “North of 60”
The much-anticipated Watermelon Kindness, David Donnell’s first new collection in six years, comes from a part of the country that’s somewhere between Archie Bunker and Dale Peck — a contentious, but genial place.
With more range than any other contemporary poet, Donnell ponders questions of art, history, and psychology while reveling in the sensory and all that makes us real. Whether exploring the modus operandi of other writers or paralleling the trajectory of a satellite with everyday occurrences like lost money, badly ended love affairs, or political disappointment, Watermelon Kindness is the Roman padda, a tough individual loaf approximately the size of your hand. Always concerned with what’s most nourishing — why we’re as crazy as we are crazy — it’s forty percent crust, because crust is almost always the best of it.
David Donnell is generally acknowledged as a master of the conversational intellectual poem. His books of poetry include Settlements, winner of the Governor General’s Award; China Blues, winner of the City of Toronto Book Award; The Blue Ontario Hemingway Boat Race; 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.