Pub date: February 25, 2011
Finalist, Hamilton Literary award (Poetry)
In this splendid new collection, Jeffery Donaldson shifts deftly between the incisive short lyric and the extended meditation, oscillating between detachment and engagement. In "Torso," the headless sculpture of Apollo is both chiselled rock and the changeling child of multiple observers.
In "Enter, PUCK," elements of a hockey game twist in the fascinating funhouse mirror that lines the depths of Donaldson's personal Platonic cave.
Revealing a mind at once conversant with literary deities and the subtleties of the everyday, Guesswork confirms that exacting craftsmanship, supple syntax, and an unerring sense of rhythm are anything but guesswork.
"Whether riffing on Rilke's Apollo, addressing an unlikely twin, or recalling a local magician, Donaldson writes with imaginative flare, ever-allusive language, and rare rhythmical skill. How lucky we are to witness the arrival of such poetry." — Brian Bartlett
"Guesswork's hockey poems suggest a tense symphony of movement, speed, and grace punctuated by a lingering violence, a mind on sharpest edge. All jersey-bundled, they nearly obscure a muscular attention to form, technique, and craft that flexes and strains just beneath metaphor's protective veneer." — Matt Robinson