Pulled from the Pages: Granted by Jeffery Donaldson

Granted by Jeffery Donaldson

The impending Lunar New Year this Sunday has many of us thinking about the moon, but my moon-ish preoccupation stems from a difference source: the hot-off-the-press copies of Jeffery Donaldson’s Granted, whose cover is beautifully adorned by the celestial body, and whose first and final poems bookend the collection with lunar thoughts for good measure.

Much of the thrill of poetry for me is the way in which clever writers are able to wield literary devices and figurative language to create not only compelling imagery, but inspire us as readers to look at life in a different way. Poets provide us with dynamic texts that teach us to make inferences and connections that we might not otherwise consider. This is exactly what Jeffery Donaldson has done in his new poetry collection, Granted.

Granted takes the well-known device of the metaphor and analyses its foundation and its boundaries—investigating what metaphors are, what they do, and how they do it—as well as putting this exploration into practice. Some of the poems are intellectually thrilling, with profound and sometimes even humorous statements about the purpose and function of metaphor, while others are almost heart wrenching in the way that they employ metaphor to make—or extend—meaning.

To me, Donaldson has created with Granted a sort of Metaphor 101, a chance for readers (and writers, too!) to challenge their preconceptions about metaphorical language, and to experience the true power it can have when wielded by a skilled practitioner of language such as Donaldson.

I hope you enjoy this short excerpt below, which will treat you to the analytical, humorous, poignant poems that await in Granted.

* * *


This isn’t the first time you have observed
the striking resemblance between the Moon
and a moon, how like a moon the Moon is.

It shades into a gap, into medial
and ere-withal, gives back a reflection’s
individuous twin, its about-face.

Isn’t that why you come out this evening,
and walk it three blocks to the city park
sniffing a tasteless pallor in the trees,

that it might do its business, on its own,
in the clearing where no one is watching.
It dithers behind the empty park bench

for a moment, tugs gently at your hold.
You pretend not to notice while it goes,
and the Moon, like always, loves you for it.


I could never dream, o day of my birth,
how you put your hat beside your satchel
on the beach and made a sanctuary

along the shoreline, empty in every
direction. The gesture itself was not
so much accidental, as unforeseen

in its significance. I never found
a reason for it. The hat was a hat.
The satchel the same. But somehow the two

of them together on the shore, empty
in all directions, said more than either
alone could do, more than the vacant beach,

and certainly more than you yourself,
who waded from shore just as I got here,
could have told me, had you ever returned.

* * *


I hope you enjoyed this peek inside the covers of Granted. If you’d like to purchase a copy, print and digital editions are available now!

Happy reading,


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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.