In The Cameo Shade:

Poems 2002-2005

by Thomas Porky McDonald



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 6/12/2009

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 380
ISBN : 9781438973937

About the Book

A close personal loss and the first trip ever to the land of his ancestors makes this fifth collection of poetry by Thomas Porky McDonald, In the Cameo Shade:2002-2005, a most effecting volume.  As usual, the rambling (sometime) baseball poet deftly weaves his way between the real world and the one he continues to explore, between the white lines.  In The Roads of Lives Away, McDonald come to grips with the loss of a childhood friend, Frank Brady, in moving pieces, such as “Until Until” and “Eternal August.”  “Bitter Lines Within,” “A Solitary Thing” and the title piece also flavor Roads, while remembrances of other former Irish heroes, Tug McGraw (“A Believer’s Heart”) and his father (“The Sailor I’m Still Looking For”), take McDonald from poet on back to child.


An Apollo Stillness features more longing pieces, with such disparate topics as the author of the text on the Statue of Liberty (“When Emma Wrote For Free”), former modes of transportation (“Old Train Stations”), The Civil War (“The House of Willmer,” “A Different Education”) and the state of the world today (“The Problem With Everywhere,” “You Take Armageddon”) all chiming in.  Continuing along this route, The Itch consists of a number of nostalgic verses, concerning people (“The Greatest Days in Heaven,” “The Space Traveler”), places (“The Pubs on Grand Avenue,” “A Big Small Town Known as Childhood”) and things (“An El Train to Immortality”).


The final two books in this collection, A Different Hunger and Troubadour Sundays further dig into the soul of the man looking through the boy.  Hunger is dominated by a slew of poems written while on McDonald’s first ever visit to Ireland.  The most endearing of these are (arguably) “Streets of Dublin,” “A Call to Benediction,” “Pedestrian Galway,” “A Connemara Monday” and “Winds off the Ocean” (which commemorates the spreading of his friend Brady’s ashes on the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare).  Sundays, with evocative pieces “Do You See the Homeless at Home” “How Far Away is Thomson” and “Sons of the Pacific,” closes out a most remarkable collection of poetry, which finds this poet growing more consistently introspective then in previous volumes.

About the Author


            Thomas Porky McDonald is a poet and writer who has used baseball and the ballpark atmosphere in a number of previous volumes, including six earlier poetry collections.  Besides the chronological issues, Ground Pork: Poems 1989-1994, Downtown Revival: Poems 1994-1997, Closer to Rona: Poems 1997-1999 and Still Chuckin' Poems 1999-2002, he has also released two specialty volumes, Diamond Reflections: Baseball Pieces For Real Fans and Dem Poems: The Brooklyn Collection.  Does the Toy Cannon Fire Still at Night? his most recent release, provided a primer on poetic process, using 62 pieces from his earliest collections.  Where the Angels Bow to the Grass: A Boy’s Memoir, taken mainly from the writers’ childhood days of the 1960’s and 70’s, described the bond between McDonald and his father, Bill “The Chief” McDonald and his three-part Irishman’s Tribute series paid homage to 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, historical material and a small dose of McDonald’s trademark baseball poetry.  Three pure baseball books, Series Endings: A Whimsical Look at the Final Plays of the Fall Classic, 1903-2003, At a Loss to Eternity, Baseball Teams of Note That Didn’t Win it All and Never These Men: One Man’s Look at Baseball’s Creatively Cultured Characters, each gave a decidedly different take on the National Pastime than is usually seen.  McDonald has also released a book of short stories, Paradise Oval and a 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.