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David Donnell

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1989. 136pp, paper, $9.95
ISBN 0-7710-2848-2. CIP

Reviewed by Donna Doyle.

Volume 17 Number 5
1989 September

David Donnell won the 1983 Governor General's Award for poetry for his previous book, "Settlements." He also won the Today Magazine Comic Poem Award and the Therafields Foundation Chapbook Award.

Water Street Days is a collection of poetry and prose. It explores family relationships, coming of age, and family memories. The prose pieces, "Grand River," 'The Great Peach Thefts," and "Fall Fair Memories" give detailed glimpses into the life of a young boy in the early 1950s. The characters are well portrayed, and the action flows well.

The poetry is a dull monologue on each person and event. The few poems I did enjoy are those that gave an image to a feeling: In "Dancing at The Renovated King Edward (VII)" the mother recounts family tales which are

.. middling true. Less like
a plumb line
than a plum.

"Hills" likens life's problems to a series of hills:

My father died. That was a gorge and then a hill.

"Anecdotal" lists happenings carried in the memories of family members. It is an interesting, realistic, irrelevant list, probably common to many families.

A slow trip through a family album does not appeal to me. This book gave me that feeling.

Donna Doyle, D'Escousse, N.S.
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