Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Poetry General

The Banquet of Donny & Ari

Scenes from the Opera

by (author) Naomi Guttman

Brick Books
Initial publish date
Mar 2015
General, Canadian
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2015
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2015
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Under the sugar maples of Montreal, family life is given mythic dimensions in this sweeping novella-in-verse.

If Dionysus and Ariadne lived in Montreal in the late twentieth century, would he serve veal stuffed with apples and paté de fois gras? Coach nubile young singers in a performance of L'Orfeo? Would Ariadne's thread be fashioned into tapestries of furious elegy in the face of environmental catastrophe? Would their marriage survive?

Amid a fictional marriage in a state of malaise and a real world on the edge of environmental disaster, Guttman lays open moments of vexation and tenderness, of grief, guilt, betrayal and love. Sounding through these moments are the harpsichord and the loom, drawing Donny and Ari, their sons Stephan and Onno, their corgie and their parrot, into the long weave of myth, art and human history.

Donny envies her the order of her threads, neatness of the loom, palettes of skeins piled high. Compare this to the score he must unwind, ingest, to play by heart. The orchestra accompanying the voices is Orfeo's lyre.

— from "Rehearsals: Mastery"

Praise for Naomi Guttman: "Richly detailed, passionate, witty, despairing, and brave, the lyric force of these poems conveys most of all a deep knowledge and love of a complex but recognizable world." — Peter Meinke

About the author

Naomi Guttman

's first book of poems, Reasons for Winter, won the A.M. Klein Award for Poetry. Her second, Wet Apples, White Blood, was co-winner of the Adirondack Center for Writing's Best Book of Poems for 2007. Raised in Montreal, she now teaches creative writing at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY.

Naomi Guttman's profile page

Related lists