My series of poems ‘I Came to the City” has been inspired by the music and artistry of Joni Mitchell, whose music I first head in a little back side, one floor up apartment in the Marais in Paris in 1998 played for me by my flatmate at the time Tambourine Therese and this music and visual art has never left me, hence this series of introspective, external, political, jazzy, rambling, rolling poems.

The ‘I came to the City’ title comes from the name of the A side of Joni’s first album ‘Songs to a Seagull’, the B side is aptly named ‘Out of the City and Down to the Seaside.’

Each poem followed the albums in chronological order from folk, to confession, to jazz, to restlessness, to the 80’s political unrest, to introspection, age, reflection and affirmation. Joni designed most of her album art and so I have taken inspiration from each cover to go with each poem in the series. Joni said once in an interview that after each period of writing comes a period of painting, although she was never sure which came first, the music or the art. Either way, this was my tribute to an incredible artist who has faced the spotlight and, in spite of its intensity and scrutiny, has remained one of the greatest and truest artists to put pen to paper, a voice to words and colour to canvas.

Below are the albums and my interpretations…

Thank you Joni Mitchell.


Songs to a Seagull, 1968

My poem, A Song for the Sleeping Bee:

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Clouds, 1969

My poem Potters on the Road:

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Ladies of the Canyon, 1970

My poem Gone, The Garden;

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Blue, 1971

My poem Boy So Blue:

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For The Roses, 1972

My poem Could Have Been More:

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Court and Spark, 1974

My poem Longing; The Taste of Things to Come;

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The Hissing of Summer Lawns, 1975

My poem The Hissing in the Summer:

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Hejira, 1976

My poem Taxi Driver:

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Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, 1977

My poem A Muse on a Rough Rouse:

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Mingus, 1979

My poem The Sum of Who We Are;

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Wild Things Run Fast, 1982

My poem Correcting Corinthians:

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Dog Eat Dog, 1985

My poem Appetites:

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Chalk In A Rainstorm, 1988

My poem Capture Beauty:

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Night Ride Home, 1991

My poem Two Rooms in the Land of the Frogs:

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Turbulent Indigo, 1994

My poem Turbulent Sacrifice:

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Taming The Tiger, 1998

My poem Lilting Lullaby:

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Both Sides Now, 2000

My poem The Other Side:

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Travelogue, 2003

My poem Travelogue:

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Shine, 2007

My poem Confession:

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All Words by Damien B. Donnelly. All photographs and artwork by Damien B. Donnelly, inspired by the visions of Joni Mitchell



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