The Reservoir

Poems by Donna Stonecipher


"Meticulous and haunted, these poems live in a world only partly ours—one that overlaps into others where mirrors line the throats of birds and bees are baked into cakes. It's often evening here; we're often in a garden; we're often wandering. Stonecipher's precise language is both pensive and uncannily present, her images both seductive and oddly settling. She has achieved a beautiful truce among the most difficult emotions without compromising a thing."
—Cole Swensen

"Stonecipher gives her poems both the texture and the structure of a continuous meditation on her own best, strongest, or prettiest memories . . . Stonecipher spent part of her youth in Teheran, and some of her twenties in the Czech Republic. Unsurprisingly, she enjoys writing about place; ultimately, though, all her poems are meditative, inward, remotely Proustian."
Boston Review

"Her unusual style and skillfully turned language, applied to a range of women's secrets, make this collection a read that is both compelling and haunting, and one to which readers will wish to return many times."
Carolina Quarterly

"Life on several continents, sexual passion and intellective experience among the recesses of language produce the unique prose poems in Donna Stonecipher's The Reservoir. Residence in Teheran, Prague, Seattle and Iowa—and study of prose-poem masters from St. John Perse to Killarney Clary—inform the inviting reflections and meditations in Stonecipher's volume."
Publishers Weekly

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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 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.

Page count: 88 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $19.95

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Donna Stonecipher grew up in Seattle and Teheran. She lived in Prague from 1994 to 1998 and graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2001. Her poems have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Field, Indiana Review, New American Writing, and Web Conjunctions, among other journals.