My Head the Cup and Other Poems of Prayer, Fantasy, & Dialogue w/ Self, Guiding Spirits, & God


ISBN 0-919761-08-9






Reviewed by Mark Bastien

Mark Bastien was a Toronto-based journalist.


Donn Reed is an adventurer. He has travelled throughout North America toiling for his keep as a migrant field worker, janitor, foundry worker, and some fifteen other occupations. He is a child of the sixties, a lover of nature, a spiritual man. Now writing from his family homestead in New Brunswick, Reed has collected his recent work into his fifth book, My Head the Cup... Previous books have included A Short But Very Authoritative History of Women’s Lib (by a man*) (“with his wife’s permission) and How the Mounties Got Their Own Man.

Reed is a good storyteller, and the poems that work in this collection feel rooted in the folk song rhythms of twenty years ago. His nostalgia for Peter, Paul, and Mary and Bob Dylan in “One Evening” is infectious. He writes about change and conflict with true sadness: the problems of today concern him and he’s ready to tackle them. He is a thinking man of action.

God figures prominently in many of the poems, but Reed doesn’t seem to know what to do with Him. God is omnipresent but vague, and often this underwhelms the author’s images and ideas. Four poem/prayers, each with a single repeated rhyme, address God’s wisdom, scope, and plan and Christ’s dying for sin. They are all curiously unclear. Reed is on to something interesting with these funky verses, but he doesn’t get to where it seems he wants to go. He is obviously comfortable with his spirituality, and his love of nature flows forth in his poems; but Reed hasn’t succeeded in getting his God on paper.


Reed, Donn, “My Head the Cup and Other Poems of Prayer, Fantasy, & Dialogue w/ Self, Guiding Spirits, & God,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 13, 2024,