In Donna Stonecipher's debut collection of poems, a continual renovation of prose-poem forms unites narrative with lyricism to invent a luxurious little country, where the elegance of architecture, specifically European, houses a purely American spirit."Anything seen through an arch is instantly picturesque," declares the first line of "Album." Form renders meaning and makIn Donna Stonecipher's debut collection of poems, a continual renovation of prose-poem forms unites narrative with lyricism to invent a luxurious little country, where the elegance of architecture, specifically European, houses a purely American spirit."Anything seen through an arch is instantly picturesque," declares the first line of "Album." Form renders meaning and makes beauty possible, and yet the arch is an artificial imposition on the scene. Likewise, birds, butterflies, and a swan flit through the poems, symbols of the artifice of ornamentation that dazzles in the distance but disappoints upon closer inspection; in these poems, a bird in the bush is worth two in the hand.It is the reservoir, artificial but functional, beautiful only incidentally, that, "placid through the seasons, may save us." The union of narrative (function) and lyricism (beauty) in the reservoir, both reserving and reserved, results in poems that have much to tell, and even more to hold in, leaving the reader with the impression of secrets partly revealed, partly kept in reserve as mercurial lifeblood....
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The Reservoir Reviews
This book should be its own broadcasting antenna. I mean if someone could just elongate this thing by a few thousand feet and set it on the highest point in one of the more popular media markets, the poems will do the rest of the work. They got it all going on. Really going on. Stonecipher can make the prose poem feel essential and smart and crafted. (I'm not sure how many people really know how to use the prose poem, personally.) What I get from this book is an interrogation of wholeness. What does it mean for something to be whole? How many parts can something be split up into? Stonecipher makes you feel that answer. An in your gut kind of acknowledgement.
That day in the museum--but let us not begin the reductivity. That day in the museum--but don't forget the butterfly was a sexual idea. That day in the museum--I recognized something I can no longer explain.I read her other (later) book The Cosmopolitan first. This one was her debut collection, and in it, her voice seems less assured. Still, you can tell she is a good poet. Sometimes she overwrites. Also, there is much less humor than the other book. As my friend Dawn says, I'm highly interested in thinking, and I think that is why I am attracted to these poems when they are at their best. Other times, it's just about the sounds...the brown hills that never were wilderness bewitching, the oval lake that never said translucence inviting
I was fortunate enough to attend a reading by Stonecipher, however unfortunately I just could not feel any energy from her. Her physical reading was drab, she read with absolutely no passion whatsoever, and appeared very nervous. It is almost as if she didn’t trust her own writing, she seemed to have no confidence in regards to it. I hoped to get a better feel for her poetry from her personally, but to no avail. Her work remains pocketed to me. He sounds unfinished. It seems as though she just picks fragmented sentences she has once heard out of the air, and then puts them together on the page.
Beautifully written, formally and verbally enchanting, things carefully seen and puzzled. Sometimes I had the "So what?" response. Probably just my mood.