Donna Stonecipher is the author of three books of poetry: The Reservoir (Georgia, 2002), Souvenir de Constantinople (Instance, 2007), and The Cosmopolitan (winner of the National Poetry Series, selected by John Yau, Coffee House, 2008). She also translates poetry and prose from French and German.
"Donna Stonecipher's mesmerizing The Cosmopolitan (Coffee House Press, 2009) is a travelogue of consciousness, a diary of displacement whose writing self seems simultaneously nowhere and everywhere ('And isn't nowhere, after all, also an elsewhere?'). As the voice's location shifts from metropolis to metropolis, from country to country, never settling in one place long enough to be identified with it, it becomes intertwined with the voices of other writers in a dazzling fugue that draws the reader irresistibly in."
- John Koethe
from Inlay 8 (Claude Lvi-Strauss)
He was born in Kaya, Burkina Faso, but now he's living abroad. She was born in Frankfurt, Germany, but now she's living abroad. She was born in Seoul, South Korea, but now she's living abroad. He was born in Vancouver, Washington, but now he's living abroad.
And if she ran the city through a sieve, as she sometimes imagined doing, would she be left with only the natives, pedigreed and pure? Everybody, eventually, goes down the Philosophenweg, gaping at hieroglyphic heirloom roses and beetles with supersvelte legs.
He's like me, he said. He has an inner map of hotels all over Europe. And it was true: if we met a man from Cologne, he'd get a faraway look in his eyes and eventually work the conversation around to say, ". . . and tell me, do you know the marvelous Hotel Dom?"
As for me, I would choose to infiltrate foreign territories via the spice route rather than the silk route. Nutmeg, mint, cinnamon, aniseed, turmeric, cardamom, the hotel, the parliament. I sat in the reproduction Victoria thinking about the myth of the bequeathal of the family house.
"I hate traveling and explorers"