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Book Reviews

Parish of the Psychic Moon

by Don Domanski

It seems to be the general consensus that Don Domanski is a different kind of poet compared with other Canadian poets. To my mind his greatest affinity can be found with the British poet Peter Redgrove, and I’d be very interested to know whether there is an influence here, or is this just an accident of the imagination?

What are we to make of a poet who seems to pull in images from everywhere and bring them together to make exciting, and – dare I say it – logical poems. For these pieces, in spite of their varied and apparently unrelated metaphors, have indeed an interior compelling logic that is certainly a great part of their strength and appeal. The whole biosphere, often the whole of creation, seems to have flown in on the wings of imagination and been found roosting in Domanski’s mind. How often do our poets give leave to their words to fly? Did I say like birds? They could be flying like dragonflies, even like dragons, or maybe they are swimming in the greenest depths or moving like the moon in and out of the clouds of understanding. For example, “The shape of flight cupped against the moment / say it was wings black as feathers are allowed / oncoming against the heart,” writes Domanski in “Wings Black As Feathers Are Allowed.”

This present book is divided into four parts, of which I find the second one “What the Bestiary Said,” by far the most appealing. It’s here that Domanski’s insights are at their sharpest, his intellect at its clearest, for, make no mistake, Domanski has that balance between intellect and the imagination that is the poet’s true dwelling place, as in “Lynx” : “because snow is half the body / belief half the mind.”

I found this book a very interesting read, and as one who waits with impatience each book that this poet brings out, I am now waiting on Domanski’s next collection. I like to think of him at this moment composing new works by the light of the physic moon.


Reviewer: Anne Szumigalski

Publisher: McClelland and Stewart


Price: $12.99

Page Count: 106 pp

Format: Paper

ISBN: 0-7710-2874-1

Released: Apr.

Issue Date: 1998-6

Categories: Poetry