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