Touched By Its Rays, by Walter Donway

Touched By Its Rays, by Walter Donway

Touched By Its Rays, by Walter Donway

Walter Donway is a new poet for our time. His poetry deals with current events, conflicts and aspirations, but it does so using all the resources of the enduring poetic forms: rhyme, meter, epic storytelling, drama, satire and song. Donway rejects obscurity without sacrificing depth; he rejects free verse without sacrificing richness of rhythm. This book is for those who love the music of language that ignited our interest in poetry as children, and for those who long for poetry in the great tradition that also speaks to us today.


From the Barabara Branden review for the Atlasphere:

“While much of modern poetry is unintelligible doggerel, full of despair, at least one contemporary poet has put forth a collection of beautifully crafted, inspiring poems — and we are all ‘touched by its rays.’

“Beauty of language, combined with originality and clarity of thought, that I had feared were lost to poetry, have been found in at least one poet writing today. Walter Donway’s Touched By Its Rays gives me heart to continue my search for poetry I can love.

“Donway is a man of the present; he writes about the events, the conflicts, the dreams and loves, the struggles and disappointments and triumphs of a man of today, but he writes in the great tradition of his illustrious predecessors.

“His rivetingly beautiful poems are powerfully emotionally evocative. He understands the music of the English language — his work sings. He is a musician of language.

“In one of my favorites among his poems, Walter Donway portrays a man in Ancient Greece who, despite his age, sets out, with all the fire and idealism of youth, to become a discus thrower — a love he could not pursue as a young man….”


From the John Enright review for The Atlas Society:

“Reports of poetry’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Proof of life arrives afresh in Walter Donway’s exquisite new book, Touched By Its Rays.

“The title is taken from a line in Atlas Shrugged: “. . .and should you die without reaching full sunlight, you will die on a level touched by its rays . . .” These words splash across an opening page of this collection, and you understand immediately that this is a poet who means to aim high….

“He fears that the true value of poetry is being buried alive in a blizzard—a blizzard of frequently indecipherable free verse. He hopes that his book can be a bit of countervailing sun, demonstrating the persistent power of the traditional way of composing English poetry. So he writes with meter, often with rhyme, and fashions his words with intelligence and passion.

“He manages these methods with flexible aplomb. He is careful not to pursue musical effect at the expense of accurate meaning...His language shifts lightly between contemporary idioms and more classic modes of speech.

“The poems cover a wide variety of subjects and have a pleasant quality of unpredictability….Each represents some new twist of thought…. “Just Wondering,” for example, is a humorous meditation on the current state of the mind/body debate….

“Naked” is a short play in verse. In technical terms, I would say it’s a “closet drama,” not designed for full-scale staging but amenable to public reading by actors. This form has a long lineage in poetry and includes Goethe’s Faust and Milton’s Samson Agonistes. Donway’s drama centers on Juliette Justine, a proud and beautiful actress who has been turned upon by the public, the press, and a corrupted justice system. As the action opens, she is exiting her limousine and being walked into prison....

“It has been a long time since I enjoyed a new book of poetry this much. Walter Donway has tossed his discus high and far. I can only hope that Touched By Its Rays is seen, and read, by lovers of poetry around the world.

“And if by chance you only “sort of like” poetry, I recommend it to you as well. Relentlessly intelligent, contemporary in language and topic, Donway brings the music of words boldly up to date for the twenty-first century.”