Does the Toy Cannon Fire Still at Night?

by Thomas Porky McDonald



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 9/28/2008

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 5x8
Page Count : 352
ISBN : 9781434395719

About the Book

The inspirations that mold a poet’s thoughts and the meanings behind what his or her words actually say form a question mark which anyone who has taken a literature course of any kind is familiar with.  The notion that anyone can clearly know what a poet is absolutely thinking is something that is arbitrarily tossed about at all levels of study.  Does the Toy Cannon Fire Still at Night? is poet and writer Thomas Porky McDonald’s answer to those who would assume to understand exactly what any poet might be saying or thinking.  Taken from his first 15 books of poetry, written between the years 1989 and 1999, this volume gives you the actual stories behind 62 different (mostly) baseball-related pieces that the (always) curious ballpark wanderer has written.  How, why, when and where each poem was written is offered up, in reply to a handful of friends who independently of one another each inquired about the origins of different pieces.


McDonald’s point appears to be that any good poetry can be interpreted in a number of ways.  Although where particular verses came from is a definitive place, the origins are rarely given to the public first hand, but only in reflective forwards of anthologies, where someone other than the artist gives their opinion on what it all means.  In the Toy Cannon collection, poems written in the wake of decades of the earliest stored memories of the game of McDonald’s youth parallel with numerous pieces created (conversely) on a sudden and electric impulse.  The realm of those no longer with us also chimes in, as a slew of memorial tributes offer up the most vibrantly raw and personally inspired pieces of the poet’s work.  The result is a most interesting book, which could serve as a primer for all other past, present and future collections released by this often pensive, generally joyous and always reflective Irish troubadour.  If nothing else, this volume can help break down not only what resides in this particular man’s soul, but maybe even give us pause to look more closely and carefully at any poetry that we might come across, especially that which touches us. 


About the Author

Thomas Porky McDonald has written extensively about baseball and the inherent meanings that it can entail, most notably in verse form.  His four poetry collections which spanned the 1990’s on into the early 21st Century each contained diverse pieces on what he still believes is the National Pastime.  Ground Pork: Poems 1989-1994, Downtown Revival: Poems 1994-1997 and Closer to Rona: Poems 1997-1999 and Still Chuckin': Poems 1999-2002, all presented a writer whose work was often distinguished by the use of baseball and the ballpark venue.  He has also published two thematic poetry volumes.  Diamond Reflections, Baseball Pieces For Real Fans, takes the most vibrant baseball-related poems of the chronological collections from the many other life-related pieces contained in each five-book set.  Dem Poems: The Brooklyn Collection was born of verses written from 1985-2005, two decades when the writer’s jobsite was based in the Borough of churches.  Two other collections, In the Cameo Shade: Poems 2002-2005 and Vespers at Sunset: Poems 2005-2007, are slated for a future release.  Beyond the poetry landscape, McDonald has also released Series Endings: A Whimsical Look at the Final Plays of Baseball’s Fall Classic, 1903-2003, a distinctly different view of baseball’s World Series than most mainstream histories, and Where the Angels Bow to the Grass: A Boy’s Memoir, which was taken mainly from the writer’s childhood days of the 1960’s and 70’s and described the bond between McDonald and his father, Bill “The Chief” McDonald.  His unique three-volume “Irishman’s Tribute” series paid homage to various heroes of the past.  An Irishman’s Tribute to the Negro Leagues, Over the Shoulder and Plant on One: An Irishman’s Tribute to Willie Mays and Hit Sign, Win Suit: An Irishman’s Tribute to Ebbets Field each contained short stories and historical material, as well as a small dose of McDonald’s trademark baseball poetry.  McDonald has also published a book of short stories, Paradise Oval and his singular New Yorkers’ take on 9/11, The Air That September.  Born in St. Albans Naval Hospital in Queens, McDonald has lived in nearby Astoria his entire life.