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David Donnell. Courtesy McClelland & Stewart.

David Donnell
Born October 13, 1939 (1939-10-13) (age 77)
St. Marys, Ontario
Occupation Writer, Poet
Nationality Canada Canadian

David Donnell (born October 13, 1939) is a Governor General's Award-winning Canadian poet and fiction writer.[1]

Life Edit

Donnell was born in St. Marys, Ontario in 1939. He moved to Toronto in 1958 and published his first book, Poems, in 1961. During this period he frequented the Bohemian Embassy tavern in Toronto,[2] where Margaret Atwood, Gwendolyn MacEwen, Milton Acorn, and other poets were establishing their reputations. In conjunction with John Robert Colombo, Donnell printed Atwood's first book, Double Persephone (1961).

Donnell published The Blue Sky: Poems, 1974-1977, examining the relationships of his life from an oblique perspective; then Dangerous Crossings(1980), followed by A Poem About Poland.[2] He continued publishing with Water Street Days (1989) where he examines his past and his childhood; the poems are narrative confession's; and China Blues (1992)[2]

His poems have been anthologized in The New Oxford Book of Canadian Verse in English, 1982, The New Canadian Poets, 1970-1985. 1985, and The Norton Introduction to Modern Poetry, 3rd edition, 1986.[3]


Donnell's poems offer perspectives about the stresses and ironic staples of urban life. His poetry is known for its escalating fascination with prose fiction, that becomes more dominant in the final sections of China Blues and Water Street Days, and is a important feature in his Dancing In The Dark (1996).

The Canadian Encyclopedia says that "Donnell's poetry speaks in the vernacular. Refreshingly accessible, it pulses with the realities of home, street, and working life."[1]


Donnell won the Canadian Comic Poet Award in 1981, and the 1983 Governor General's Award for English language poetry for his collection Settlements.[1] He has also received the Therafields Chapbook Award, 1986. and the City of Toronto Book Award, 1993.[3]



  • Poems. Thornhill, ON: Village Press, 1961.
  • Leaves are Falling on the Rivers, Fruits are Falling in the Garden: Poems. Thornhill, ON: Village Press, 1961.
  • The Blue Sky: Poems, 1974-1977. Coatsworth, ON: Black Moss Press, 1977.
  • Dangerous Crossings: Poems, 1978/79. Windsor, ON: Black Moss Press, 1979.
  • Settlements. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1983. ISBN 0-7710-2849-0
  • The Natural History of Water. Toronto: Shaw Street Press, 1986. ISBN 0-920901-01-8
  • Crab Cakes w/ Blueberries. Toronto: Letters Book Shop, 1995.
  • Sometimes a Great Notion: Poems. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2004. ISBN 978-0-7710-2826-7
  • Watermelon Kindness. Toronto: ECW Press, 2010.

Short fictionEdit


  • Hemingway in Toronto: A post-modern tribute. Windsor, ON: Black Moss Press, 1982. ISBN 0-88753-090-7

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[4]

See also Edit

David Donnell reads from Watermelon Kindness03:52

David Donnell reads from Watermelon Kindness.

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Marlene Alt, "Donnell, David," Canadian Encyclopedia]. Edmonton, AB: Hurtig, 1988, 615a. Print.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Bruce Meyer "Donnell, David." The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature. Eugene Benson and William Toye. Oxford University Press 2001. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Douglas College. Web, 3 November 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 David Donnell,, League of Canadian Poets. Web, Apr. 5, 2017.
  4. Search results = au:David Donnell, WorlCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, July 12, 2014.

External linksEdit

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