Eagerly waited first collection from Colin Donati, well-known poet and songwriter in Edinburgh, whose work has appeared widely in magazines and anthologies. Containing 36 poems, Rock is Water is a dazzling array displaying Donati's fascination with wordplay and structure, covering themes of natural history, the transience and durability of human achievement, time, history and both the surface and deep meanings of language.
"Donati's collection seems like some kind of Zen Calvinism, where you can stumble upon a revelation like 'Space Invader' in which Biblical text meets Atari graphics circa 1983, or the prose-poem 'The Interference Structure of Memory', in which wholly new methods of expression are introduced. Quotation would be obsolete: these are poems you have to read in their entirety. Donati is a poet bigger publishers should snap up." Scotland on Sunday
I am like that sad animal the gibbon in the zoo
dipping its fingers in its own sex and sniffing them
lain over a bale on its back, flat amongst tyres in its box,
lit by white bulbs on a drizzly day and gazed at
from behind thick plate glass in the crowded walk-way
by the smooth-faced murmurous-tongued cousins there
who pass in file hour upon hour and who I do my utmost
to pretend are harmless.
with my straw, two ramps, some rope and a hatch to the outdoors,
I am like it, yes and why? Is it because I'm not sure
that I care for my numen and I'm lonely and I make
shadow-shows that show my own kind terrorised
by sixty-foot gorillas or voracious escaped dinosaurs
and my highest dream is to lie with a partner
in the stink or our own bed? Can this be true?
Can this really be true? Can the mind heed
no higher goal?
The mind protests its shabby hopes against better visions
through establishment of sure connections such as
we are not animals when we engage in sex
our experience altogether more elevated and unique
than anything the gibbon undergoes with mates.
I have a salary, can drive a car, understand
the layout of a supermarket, answer phones